Raft Carrying Nine Migrants Capsizes on Rio Grande River
One Body Recovered, Three Still Reported Missing
EAGLE PASS, Texas – The body of a child has been recovered and three people are missing after the raft they were using to cross the Rio Grande River capsized late Wednesday night.
“What we’re dealing with now is senseless tragedy,” said Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz. “The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol have been doing everything in their power to prevent incidents like this. And yet, callous smugglers continue to imperil the lives of migrants for financial gain.”
On Wednesday, at approximately 9:45 p.m., U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Eagle Pass South Station detained a man for illegally entering the United States. Upon his apprehension, the man told agents he was part of a group that attempted to cross the Rio Grande River in a rubber raft that capsized, spilling all of its occupants into the cold and fast-flowing waters. The man also informed agents that his wife, two sons, 10 months old and 6 years old, and a nephew, seven, were among those who were swept away. An adult male and female child were also reportedly among the missing. This prompted an intensive search operation in the area by all available resources.
Shortly afterward, cries coming from the river alerted agents to the riverbank where two people, a woman and a child were in distress struggling to stay afloat. Disregarding his own personal safety, an agent jumped into the river and successfully rescued both individuals later identified as the wife and child of the man who made the initial report. The six-year-old boy was treated by Border Patrol Emergency Medical Personnel (EMTs) on site, and rushed to a local hospital for advanced treatment.
A man and his juvenile son were found a short time later on the U.S. bank of the river. They did not require medical assistance and were transported to the Eagle Pass South Station.
Del Rio Sector’s Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) team was dispatched to the area and began an intensive water-borne search effort. Sadly, the missing 10-month-old boy was found deceased several miles downriver.
The Border Patrol continues to coordinate with local officials and the government of Mexico as the search for the remaining three victims moves through its first full day.
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 official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.