Two Teens, Young Adult Drowned Crossing Rio Grande

American Canal in El Paso
File Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Border Patrol agents and El Paso Fire Department rescue teams recovered the bodies of two illegal immigrant teenagers and a young woman earlier this week. The three illegal immigrants were reportedly attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the U.S. Emergency crews on both sides of the border rescued seven other people swept downstream by rapid currents in the Rio Grande.

In total, officials recovered the bodies of five suspected illegal immigrants from the Rio Grande this week.

Officials identified one of the deceased as a 14-year-old girl from Guatemala. She is reported to be the twin sister of another young girl found in Juarez, Mexico Tuesday morning. The surviving twin told officials her sister joined up with a group attempting to cross the Rio Grande to enter Texas illegally, the El Paso Times reported.

Emergency crews rescued three other people from her group. Later that day, El Paso first responders returned to the river after another reported crossing went bad. Officials discovered the body of a woman believed to be in her early 20s, NBC 9 in El Paso reported. A short time later, rescue teams discovered another body. They determined the body to be that of a teenage boy missing from earlier in the day.

One of the women rescued earlier this week eventually died, raising the death toll to four.

Border Patrol spokesman Joe Ramero spoke to the El Paso Times about the callous nature of the cartel-connected human smugglers. “With the smugglers being ruthless, they don’t care about the loss of life,” Ramirez explained. He said smugglers displayed that ruthlessness “both in San Antonio and here in the last 48 hours.”

“They’re going to try and exploit whatever they can to cross the border into the United States illegally,” he said. “Most people aren’t aware of the dangers in the canal, especially during irrigation season. Those canals can be 15 and 18 feet high and the currents run 25 miles per hour. Even a good swimmer can’t survive that.”

El Paso police are treating these drownings as a homicide, Fox14 in El Paso reported.

“It only takes six inches of fast-moving water to knock down a person,” Water Rescue Captain Kristian Menendez said in a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “At the surface the water appears to be moving slowly, but the center of the river is the fastest moving part. Plus, there are the added dangers of debris, mud and contaminants.”

Agent Romero confirmed the recovery of a fifth body to Breitbart Texas on Thursday. He said a Mexican patrol spotted the body on the U.S. side of the river and notified U.S. Border Patrol agents. The body has only been identified as a male. The time of death, nationality, and age have not yet been determined.

Romero told Breitbart Texas this number of deaths in such a short period of time is very unusual. “We average only three or four deaths a year,” he explained. “This is five in less than one week.”

“These deaths occurring in the river itself is also unusual,” he explained. “Most drownings occur in the American canal where the current is much swifter.” He said the combination of monsoon season and the opening flood gates for irrigation created “a perfect storm of danger” for those seeking to cross.

“These deaths all occurred in the river,” he said. “But, even if they made it across the river, the American Canal is even more treacherous.”

Agent Romero urged people to spread the word about the dangers of the river at this time of year. “If you know somebody that wants to cross, not now, not ever, but especially not in these waterways,” Romero concluded in the Fox 14 interview. “The dangers are way too high.”

Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Facebook.


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