DEL RIO, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents recently discovered 10 undocumented immigrants stranded on an island in the Rio Grande River, incapable of swimming to the United States or the Mexican bank of the river due to the strong current and undertow.
On Tuesday afternoon, a Del Rio Sector Border Search Trauma and Rescue team was activated after receiving a call from the Carrizo Springs Border Patrol Station. Agents in the area had observed a group of individuals that appeared to be stranded on a small island in the Rio Grande. Carrizo Springs agents maintained sight of the group until the rescue team arrived on scene, and continued to assist in the rescue operation after their arrival. A helicopter from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Air and Marine was also activated and on-scene to assist.
The BORSTAR rescue team safely rigged a tension rope from the island, and situated agents upriver and downriver as safety lookouts equipped with rescue throw lines. The rescue team worked seamlessly with the other agents and the helicopter pilot and began ferrying one person at a time across the river to the U.S. side. Within 15 minutes the team successfully ferried all 10 individuals, who had been stuck on the island for more than two hours.
BORSTAR agents are certified Emergency Medical Technicians and skilled at identifying injuries and assessing levels of injury to determine if advanced care is needed. All 10 rescuees were uninjured, and did not require medical attention. The group was illegally present in the United States and became stranded while entering the country. They were subsequently transported to the Carrizo Springs Border Patrol Station for processing in accordance with CBP policy.
“Words cannot express the immense gratitude that I have for the agents of Del Rio Sector and their continued bravery, and selflessness. This is the fourth successful water rescue for the month of April in our sector alone, and I couldn’t be more proud of the men and women who were responsible,” said Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch.
In recent days on separate occasions, a five-year-old Honduran girl, a 28-year-old Salvadoran man, and a 15-year-old Honduran boy were rescued from the Rio Grande River near Eagle Pass, Texas.
Border Patrol Agents and special teams across the nation frequently rescue numerous undocumented immigrants attempting to enter the United States by traversing the waters of the Rio Grande, every year. Unfortunately, some who attempt the dangerous swim are not so fortunate and succumb to the river’s undertow. This is the fourth water-rescue in Del Rio Sector for Fiscal Year 2014. During FY13, Del Rio Sector agents performed seven successful water-related rescues.
The Del Rio Border Patrol Sector is part of the South Texas Campaign, which leverages federal, state and local resources to combat transnational criminal organizations.