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Joint Border Patrol, Office of Air and Marine effort saves mans life

Release Date: 
January 29, 2015

RIO GRANDE CITY, Texas –U.S. Border Patrol and Office of Air and Marine agents from the Rio Grande Valley saved the life of a man Monday night who was struggling to swim across the Rio Grande.

Agents assigned to the Rio Grande City Station were working near the river when they encountered a man struggling to stay afloat. A helicopter from the Office of Air and Marine was in the area and landed to drop off an air observer to assist with the rescue. The agents formed a human chain to reach the man and pull him from the water. The man, who is a national of Guatemala, was immediately offered medical attention. He was later transported to the Rio Grande City Station to be processed for removal. 

“This man is fortunate to be alive thanks to the quick thinking and decisive actions of these agents,” Chief Patrol Agent Kevin W. Oaks said. “Border Patrol agents are highly trained and able to adapt to a variety of emerging situations. Agents and Office of Air and Marine personnel work together to secure our nation’s borders and assist people whose lives are in danger, even if it means putting their own lives in harm’s way.”

Since Oct. 1, agents in RGV Sector have rescued more than 143 people, 11 of whom were struggling to stay afloat in the river. Illegally entering the United States is extremely dangerous. Extreme weather conditions, combined with rugged terrain, can rapidly cause an individual to become distressed and die from dehydration, exertion or weather-related illnesses. Additionally, deceptively swift currents can make it extremely difficult to cross the river.  Unscrupulous human smugglers prey upon the desperation of illegal immigrants and exploit them for profit. Human smugglers are ruthless criminals who view the immigrant not as a human being, but as cargo. Immigrants are urged not to put their safety at risk by illegally entering the United States or attempting to circumvent a checkpoint.

The Rio Grande Valley 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 sector’s toll-free telephone number at 800-863-9382.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017