Comstock Border Patrol, CBP Air and Marine Find Lost Kayakers
COMSTOCK, Texas – U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Comstock Station and Special Operations Detachment BORSTAR Unit assisted Val Verde County Sheriff’s deputies, Texas Game Wardens and CBP Office of Air and Marine agents in the successful search and rescue of two 13-year-old boys who had become lost while kayaking on the Pecos River, April 26.
“Working with the CBP Office of Air and Marine, and our state and local law enforcement partners, we were able to locate these young men and return them safely to their families,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch. “Border Patrol agents from the Comstock Station and Sector Special Operations Division were out all night searching for these two missing teens.
“Our agents are highly trained and able to deploy and adapt in a wide variety of emerging situations to assist people in distress.”
The boys went missing around 2 p.m. after departing from the Pandale Crossing Bridge on the Pecos River. After unsuccessfully searching for the boys, the parents reported them missing to the Val Verde County Sheriff’s Office around 4 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office relayed the information to the Comstock Border Patrol Station, which dispatched agents immediately to the area to begin search and rescue operations. Del Rio Sector BORSTAR (Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue) units were also activated and an incident command center was quickly established at the Pandale Store. Texas Parks and Wildlife game wardens, sheriff’s deputies, and OAM pilots quickly joined the search operations.
Air operations had to be suspended around 9:30 p.m. due to lightning in the area but the others continued by searching at river crossings, in abandoned buildings, and with a Forward Looking Infrared scope truck. BORSTAR units launched multiple search teams with kayaks around 3 a.m. the following morning. By 7:40 a.m., air search operations were able to resume flying in the area and agencies began relieving the overnight search teams with fresh troops.
Around 8 a.m., OAM Pilot Chuck Akeroyd spotted the boys’ abandoned kayak on the river approximately seven miles from their launch point in a very remote part of the river. He landed the aircraft and within minutes located the boys, who had spent the night in a deer blind. Supplemental Aircrew Member Yates Parsons assessed the boys’ condition and found them in good health. The boys were then flown to the Incident Command Center and reunited with their parents.
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. To report suspicious activity call the Del Rio Sector’s toll free number at 1-866-511-8727.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.