10-Month-Old Baby Dies After Migrant Raft Capsized In Rio Grande

REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Authorities found the body of a 10-month-old baby after a raft he was on capsized, spilling him and eight other migrants into the cold, dangerous waters of the Rio Grande river.

At around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday night, Border Patrol agents working in the Eagle Pass Station encountered a man who unlawfully entered the United States, according to a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) press release. Upon apprehension, the man informed agents he had been traveling on a rubber raft carrying nine migrants that tipped over in the Rio Grande. The man’s wife, 10-month-old and 6-year-old sons, and 7-year-old nephew were among those on the raft.

Border Patrol immediately began a search operation for the missing migrants. Cries from afar brought agents to the riverbank, where a woman and a child were seen struggling to float in the water.

“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 CBP statement read.

Border Patrol Emergency Medical Personnel treated the 6-year-old boy on site and later rushed him to a hospital for more treatment.

Shortly afterward, agents located a man and his juvenile son on the U.S. side of the river. Del Rio Sector’s Border Patrol Search, Trauma and Rescue team was deployed to conduct a water-borne search operation for the man’s 10-month-old baby. Unfortunately, the toddler’s deceased body was eventually located several miles down the river.

Border Patrol placed blame on human smugglers for putting the migrants in the deadly situation.

“What we’re dealing with now is senseless tragedy,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a statement. “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.”

The search still continues for the three other missing migrants on the raft. CBP did not reveal the nationality of the migrants, but a source for Buzzfeed said they were from Honduras.

The tragedy comes as a surging number of migrants are being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border — more than 418,000 have been nabbed already in the past fiscal year. Many of the migrants try to cross the Rio Grande in their attempt to reach the U.S., causing more incidents like the one in Eagle Pass, Texas. (RELATED: Report: Border Agents Will Soon Have Authority To Decide Asylum Claims On The Spot)

“Rescues by BP agents along the Rio Grande have increased dramatically in recent months,” Dennis Smith, a spokesman for CBP, told The Daily Caller News Foundation in April following a successful rescue of a Guatemalan mother and her three kids before they drowned in the river.

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