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Border Patrol Agent Jumps in Canal to Save a Life

Release Date: 
August 29, 2017

EL PASO, Texas – Border Patrol Agents from the El Paso Station responded to two subjects swept up in the dangerous irrigation canal as they attempted to further their illegal crossing into the United States.

On August 27, at approximately 1:10 p.m., camera operators detected two male subjects crossing the border illegally near the Downtown area close to the Santa Fe Bridge. Agents observed the two males jump into the dangerous canal waters where drownings are a severe threat. Almost immediately the two individuals found themselves in distress due to the fast and treacherous currents.

The agents, realizing the danger of this situation, positioned themselves to rescue the two males in the canal. Agents made multiple attempts to save them but the two males refused their assistance and would not take hold of the rescue rope. Agents then realized that the subjects were struggling to keep themselves afloat. An agent recognized that the subjects were no longer responsive and seemed to have lost consciousness, at which point the agent decided to take immediate action. After tying a rescue rope around his own waist, he entered the canal with one goal in mind, to try and save the two male subjects. The Agent was able to secure one male victim from the canal safely. Agents immediately initiated cardio-pulmonary resuscitation and first aid to the victim. Meanwhile, the other agents desperately searched for the second individual in the water but, in the end, he could not be located.

The El Paso Emergency Medical Services/Fire and Rescue were dispatched to the area and the one male was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Upon arrival at the hospital, the male was treated for minor injuries but deemed to be in good health. After several hours of searching the waterways, agents and other emergency response officials called off the search for the second male subject.

Today at approximately 6:00 a.m. agents assigned to the El Paso Border Patrol Station observed what appeared to be a lifeless body floating near the water flow control gates in the American Canal south of Second Street. Agents contacted the El Paso Fire and Police Departments for assistance and possible recovery operations. It is unknown at this time if the body found is that of the subject that jumped into the canal on Sunday.

These incidents demonstrate the dangers of illegally crossing the Border. To date in fiscal year 2017, nine migrants have lost their lives attempting to enter the United States illegally at or near El Paso. Border Patrol Agents have rescued and saved the lives of 24 migrants in eighteen rescue operations in El Paso Sector.

Last modified: 
August 29, 2017