updated 4/26/2006 7:24:31 PM ET 2006-04-26T23:24:31

An 18-year-old woman who gave birth to a baby girl in the desert used nail clippers to cut her baby's umbilical cord before being rescued by U.S. Border Patrol agents, authorities said Wednesday.

The woman was spotted Monday night by a Border Patrol helicopter pilot about 25 miles north of Sasabe, said Ron Bellavia, commander of the Border Patrol's search, trauma and rescue operations in the agency's Tucson sector.

The woman, an apparent illegal immigrant identified as Maria Perez Perez, was with two other people, and all appeared in distress, agents said.

She was taken a short distance to a clearing where a helicopter was able to land before it transported her to University Medical Center in Tucson, Bellavia said.

Her daughter was carried on a four-wheel-drive vehicle about five miles to Arizona 286 and the Elkhorn Ranch Road, and the infant was then taken to the hospital by ambulance, Bellavia said.

Perez was in fair condition at the time, "but things can go south quickly with a birth," he said.

A spokeswoman at UMC said both mother and daughter were in good condition Wednesday.

Agents were not able to determine the woman's nationality at the time because of her condition, he added.

Bellavia said agents at the scene were told that the woman and those with her had used nail clippers to cut the umbilical cord.

BORSTAR agents in the Tucson sector come across a birth in the desert about once a year but have not actually delivered a baby yet, Bellavia said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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