Eight dead, 37 rescued after attempt to cross Rio Grande to US

The International Organization for Migration points to rising fatalities as more people attempt to enter US from Mexico.

Migrants after crossing the Rio Grande river in Eagle Pass, Texas, in May 2022 [File: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP]
The Rio Grande river in Eagle Pass, Texas, in May 2022 [File: Dario Lopez-Mills/AP]

At least eight people have been found dead in the Rio Grande river after dozens attempted a hazardous crossing to enter the United States from Mexico near Eagle Pass, Texas, officials said.

US officials recovered six bodies, while Mexican teams recovered two others, US Customs and Border Protection said in a statement on Friday.

US and Mexican officials made the grim 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.

The US border agency said US crews rescued 37 others from the river and detained 16 more, while Mexican officials took 39 into custody.

Officials on both sides of the border are continuing to search for other possible victims, the US customs and border force said.

Details were not provided as to what country or countries the people were from and no additional information on the rescue or search was given.

The US Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector, which includes Eagle Pass, is fast becoming the busiest corridor for people attempting to cross into the US.

The sector may soon surpass Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, which has been the focus for the last decade.

People from dozens of countries, many of them in families with young children, attempt to cross the US border and crossing 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.

US authorities said in August that the bodies of more than 200 people who attempted to cross the border were discovered from October through July.

Surveys by the International Organization for Migration and others point to rising fatalities as the number of people attempting to cross the border has soared.

US Border Patrol made a record 1.8 million detentions at the southwest border from October 1, 2021, to July 31, 2022. The numbers include people who have made multiple attempts to cross the border with each attempt counted separately.

In the last three decades, thousands have also died attempting to cross into the US from Mexico – often from dehydration or drowning.

In June, 53 people 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 people smuggled across the border from Mexico.

Source: The Associated Press