Up to 9 migrants killed in deadly attempt to cross Rio Grande
US and Mexican officials continued searching for more bodies along the Texas border after at least nine migrants died trying to cross the dangerously rain-swollen Rio Grande River.
In one of the deadliest border drownings in recent history, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has recovered six bodies so far, while Mexican officials have recovered three, according to a CBP statement.
The first bodies were found Thursday near Eagle Pass, Texas, after days of heavy rainfall in the area. The river – which was only about 3 feet deep earlier in the week – rose to over 5 feet deep on Thursday, flowing more than five times faster than usual, according to the National Weather Service.
Among the bodies recovered by Mexican officials were a man and a pregnant woman of unknown nationality, Francisco Contreras, a civil defense member in Mexico’s border state of Coahuila, told the Associated Press. There was initially no information about the third victim.
CBP has not released information about those recovered by US officials and has not provided additional information about its search and rescue operations.
US officials rescued 37 others from the river and arrested 16 others. Mexican officials took another 39 migrants into custody along the border.
Eagle Pass, located approximately 140 miles southwest of San Antonio, is under the jurisdiction of CBP’s 245-mile Del Rio sector, which is fast becoming one of the busiest corridors for crossing in the United States. CBP agents encountered nearly 50,000 migrants transiting the sector in July.
This year is on track to break last year’s record for the most deaths at the US-Mexico border since 2014, when the United Nations International Organization for Migration began keeping records. According to the organization, most migrants die from dehydration or drowning.
More than 4,000 deaths have been recorded at the border since 2014 – including 728 in the past year and 412 in the first seven months of this year. June was the fourth deadliest month on record, with 138 fatalities.
With postal wires