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Migrant crossing along Rio Grande river turns deadly

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Migrant crossing along Rio Grande river turns deadly

Eight migrants drown as dozens try a hazardous crossing of Rio Grande near Eagle Pass in US state of Texas, officials say.

Migrants sit along the river bank after a botched bid by smugglers last month to help them cross Rio Grande river into US from Mexico.
Migrants sit along the river bank after a botched bid by smugglers last month to help them cross Rio Grande river into US from Mexico.
(Reuters Archive)

At least eight migrants have been found dead in the Rio Grande after dozens attempted a hazardous crossing near Eagle Pass, in the US state of Texas.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Mexican officials made the discovery on Thursday while responding to a large group of people crossing the river following days of heavy rains that had resulted in particularly swift currents. 

US officials recovered six bodies, while Mexican teams recovered two others, according to a CBP statement.

The agency said US crews rescued 37 others from the river and detained 16 more, while Mexican officials took 39 migrants into custody. Officials on both sides of the border continue searching for any possible victims, the CBP said. 

CPD did not say what country or countries the migrants were from.

Dangerous crossings

The Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector, which includes Eagle Pass, is fast becoming the busiest corridor for illegal crossings. 

The sector may soon surpass Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, which has been the focus for the last decade. The area draws migrants from dozens of countries, many of them in families with young children. 

The sector, which extends 395 kilometres along the Ri­o Grande, has been especially dangerous because river currents can be deceptively fast and change quickly. Crossing the river can be challenging even for strong swimmers.

In a news release last month, CPD said it had discovered bodies of more than 200 dead migrants in the sector from October through July. 

Surveys by the UN International Organization for Migration and others point to rising fatalities as the number of crossing attempts have soared. In the last three decades, thousands have died attempting to enter the United States from Mexico, often from dehydration or drowning.

In June, 53 migrants were found dead or dying in a tractor-trailer on a back road in San Antonio in the deadliest tragedy to claim the lives of migrants smuggled across the border from Mexico. 
Source: AP


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