Chapter 14 Summary

Helicopters

Mendez and Lauro keep walking, although Lauro is sick. Mendez keeps telling him they are almost there; in desert terms, they are. Since they left the pollos behind, the guias have walked forty miles, a nearly impossible feat in their condition. Even being arrested by the Migra is an appealing thought to them now.

Lauro finally drops. Mendez drops to his knees next to him and attempts to revive him but is not successful, so he takes the money from Lauro’s pocket and tries to get up so he can leave. He cannot do it. Eventually Mendez crawls under a little bush to rest for a bit and falls asleep.

Somehow Wednesday arrives, and the five remaining walkers stumble toward salvation. The three Manzano brothers and Francesco Morales Jimenez hope the Border Patrol will find them. One of the brothers, Efraín, climbs a mountain to “see what he can see,” but he is too weak to come back down and dies there.

The others are dying, too, but Mike F., a Border Patrol agent, is just starting his shift and leaves his home base to start looking for illegals. He sees five men stumble deliriously and he immediately gives them water.

When Mario Manzano can finally speak, he tells Mike F. that his brother is lost in the desert hills. That is when the agent calls in the Bonzai Run. Within ten minutes, the Migra is “fully engaged in rescue.”

Mike F. finds Efraín Manzano but cannot save him. The Border Patrol arrives so quickly over the “vicious terrain” that their vehicles suffer twenty-six flat tires and some arrive at the scene only on the rims.

Marine pilot Major Robert Lack flies over the area looking for other survivors. He lands among scattered bodies and finds ten of them alive; one is dead. Five helicopters help with the hunt, cutting signs and trails from the air and finding bodies both dead and alive.

Reyno Bartolo and Enrique Landeros are dead. José Isidro Colorado and Nahum Landa survive. Abraham Morales Hernandez, Heriberto Baldillo Topia, Lorenzo Ortiz Hernandez, and Lauro are deceased.

Rescuers think Mendez is also dead, but he is alive. Arnulfo Flores, Reymundo Jr. and Sr., and Mario Castillo Fernandez are dead; it is a miracle that sixteen-year-old Edgar Adrian Martinez is still alive, as he was found far from any of the others and had been lying in the heat for days. Just as the rescue helicopter lands to rescue him, the boy puts his head down and dies.