Border Crisis Turns Deadly: 10 Month Old Child Drowns, Three Missing as Migrant Raft Overturns in Rio Grande
The mass illegal immigration crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border turned deadly Wednesday night as a raft carrying nine migrants crossing the Rio Grande from Mexico into Texas overturned in the dark, killing a ten-month-old boy and leaving three other migrants missing. Five migrants survived–with two being rescued by a Border Patrol agent.
The deadly disaster came just days after Customs and Border Protection announced the river rescue of nearly one hundred migrants over several days. CBP warned in press releases about the danger of crossing the Rio Grande due to a water release from the Amistad Dam putting the river near flood stage.
2014 file photo shows migrants crossing the Rio Grande.
Customs and Border Protection issued a press release Thursday about the disaster on the border.
EAGLE PASS, Texas – The body of a child has been recovered and three people are missing after the raft they were using to cross the Rio Grande River capsized late Wednesday night.
“What we’re dealing with now is senseless tragedy,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol have been doing everything in their power to prevent incidents like this. And yet, callous smugglers continue to imperil the lives of migrants for financial gain.”
On Wednesday, at approximately 9:45 p.m., U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Eagle Pass South Station detained a man for illegally entering the United States. Upon his apprehension, the man told agents he was part of a group that attempted to cross the Rio Grande River in a rubber raft that capsized, spilling all of its occupants into the cold and fast-flowing waters. The man also informed agents that his wife, two sons, 10 months old and 6 years old, and a nephew, seven, were among those who were swept away. An adult male and female child were also reportedly among the missing. This prompted an intensive search operation in the area by all available resources.
Shortly afterward, cries coming from the river alerted agents to the riverbank where two people, a woman and a child were in distress struggling to stay afloat. Disregarding his own personal safety, an agent jumped into the river and successfully rescued both individuals later identified as the wife and child of the man who made the initial report. The six-year-old boy was treated by Border Patrol Emergency Medical Personnel (EMTs) on site, and rushed to a local hospital for advanced treatment.
A man and his juvenile son were found a short time later on the U.S. bank of the river. They did not require medical assistance and were transported to the Eagle Pass South Station.
Del Rio Sector’s Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team was dispatched to the area and began an intensive water-borne search effort. Sadly, the missing 10-month-old boy was found deceased several miles downriver.
The Border Patrol continues to coordinate with local officials and the government of Mexico as the search for the remaining three victims moves through its first full day.
Buzzfeed, in a report that blamed the Trump administration for the tragedy, said the migrants are reportedly from Honduras.
CBP press releases from the past on Rio Grande rescues of migrants:
Del Rio, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector rescued 63 migrants from the swift current of the Rio Grande River in three separate incidents.
An increase in water release from Amistad Dam has created a high flow to the Rio Grande River and is expected to approach and remain near flood stage for the next 25 days. Water is regularly transferred downstream to meet irrigation and municipal water demand in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, which creates dangerous conditions to anyone attempting to cross the Rio Grande River and to agents operating on or near the river.“Crossing the Rio Grande River is extremely dangerous under the best of conditions,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “With the increased water levels, the river is running faster and higher than normal making any attempt to cross the river even more treacherous. Thanks to our agents’ vigilance, these attempted crossings did not result in the loss of life.”…
Del Rio, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to Del Rio Sector rescued eight migrants from the Rio Grande River in three separate incidents…
…On April 25, Border Patrol agents from the Del Rio Station noticed 10 people on a raft making their way across the river to the United States. However, the raft was filling with water and one subject had fallen out into the river and was being swept away by the strong current. The Del Rio Station Riverine Unit quickly responded in their patrol boat and rescued all 10 people.
During processing, agents discovered that a 3-year-old child in the group had become separated from her mother, when the mother stayed behind on the Mexican side of the river. The Del Rio Sector Foreign Operations Branch coordinated with Mexican immigration officials who reunited the child with her mother in Mexico…
EAGLE PASS, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Eagle Pass Station marine unit recovered the body of a deceased man from the Rio Grande River.
“Del Rio Sector has rescued over 200 people this fiscal year, an increase of over 800 percent from the same time last year. Even with our agents on patrol and making these rescues, the Rio Grande is unforgiving and will take its toll,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “Any loss of life is tragic and this unfortunate event serves as a reminder of the dangers present when crossing the Rio Grande.”
On April 25, Border Patrol agents, conducting marine operations, encountered a deceased person approximately a mile upriver of the Eagle Pass Port of Entry on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande River. The body was recovered from the river by the Eagle Pass Fire Department and Border Patrol Marine agents, and was turned over to the custody of a Maverick County Justice of the Peace.
Since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2019, there have been five water-related deaths encountered by Del Rio Sector agents…