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Lifesaving efforts made within hours of Rio Grande Valley Border Safety Initiative

Release Date: 
April 24, 2017

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS - Border Patrol agents in Rio Grande City rescued an adult male after he was found unconscious.

Thursday afternoon, agents responded to a report of an unconscious adult male in La Gloria, near the Jim Hogg County line. Upon arrival, agents encountered the unresponsive subject, who suffered multiple snake bites. Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were called to the scene and began treating the El Salvadoran national whom was subsequently air lifted to a local hospital.

A few hours later, Brownsville Station’s Riverine Unit discovered what appeared to be a drowning victim near the Mexican riverbank. The decedent was recovered by Mexican officials.

These two incidents occurred within hours of the 2017 Border Safety Initiative (BSI) media event held in Roma, Texas, along the Rio Grande. The BSI is a humanitarian, multi-lateral strategy designed to reduce migrant deaths and make the border safer for agents, community members and migrants.

This year’s event began with a mock water rescue conducted by Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) agents. Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. then led a walking tour through the dense brush, giving attendees an idea of the dangers migrants face from heat related injuries or simply becoming lost. During the walk, Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) showcased their abilities to treat subjects who may succumb to heat and dehydration.

At the press conference, Chief Padilla stood alongside Honduran Consul Ana Bulnes, who also serves as the TRICAMEX President. TRICAMEX is a group of consular offices comprised of the Northern Triangle of Central America. (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras along with Mexico.)

The group works to strengthen intergovernmental communication and provides services to protect nationals from their respective countries. “Loss of life is tragic, I urge individuals contemplating making the dangerous trek to the United States to consider the perils before entrusting your life to human smugglers” said Bulnes, “Our governments join efforts to mitigate tragic consequences.”

“Bottom line is, when confronted with a choice, preservation of life supersedes law enforcement action. It is the human thing to do and the right thing to do!” said Chief Padilla. Proof of that statement came two days before the event when Rio Grande City Riverine agents saved two Mexican subjects from drowning near the Roma Bluffs. Video was captured of the event, which clearly depicts the subjects being rescued by agents and reunited with their families, who applauded agents.

The video was released to members of the media at the BSI event, for a copy please call the RGV Sector Communications Branch to 956-289-4991.

Please visit www.cbp.gov to view additional news releases and other information pertaining to Customs and Border Protection.

Last modified: 
April 25, 2017