10-Month-Old Baby Found Dead, 3 Missing After Raft Flips While Crossing Southern Border

May 3, 2019 Updated: May 8, 2019

A 10 month-old baby was found dead and three others are still missing after a raft overturned on the Rio Grande river as a group of people tried to cross the U.S.-Mexico border on May 1, according to border patrol officials.

Authorities said a man they detained for crossing the southern border illegally informed them that he was part of a group that attempted to cross the river in a rubber raft. He said the raft carrying nine people capsized, and its occupants fell into the cold and fast-flowing waters, according to a statement.

He said his wife, two sons—a 10-month-old and a 6-year-old—and 7-year-old nephew were among those who had been swept away.

“What we’re dealing with now is [a] 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.”

After an intensive search, agents heard cries coming from the riverbank where a woman and a child were trying 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 statement said.

The child was treated by border patrol emergency medical personnel on site and rushed to a local hospital.

A short time later, border patrol agents found a second man and his child on the U.S. side of the river bank. The pair did not require medical treatment.

Agents are now working with Mexican officials to search for the remaining three people.

Record Numbers of Migrants

Record numbers of Central American migrants have recently crossed the border into the United States illegally. On April 30, border patrol officials said in a statement that they had apprehended a historic number of illegal aliens in New Mexico.

The group of 424 illegal aliens, detained after midnight in Sunland Park, consisted mostly of Central American families and unaccompanied minors. They encountered the second group of 230 illegal aliens around 2 a.m. at the Antelope Wells Port of Entry.

“This is an ongoing situation that U.S Border Patrol agents are facing in southern New Mexico: hundreds of parents and children being encountered by agents after having faced a dangerous journey in the hands of unscrupulous smugglers,” CBP said in a statement.

“Criminal organizations continue to exploit innocent human lives in order to enhance their illicit activities without due regard to the risks of human life. In most cases these smugglers never cross the border themselves in order to avoid apprehension.”

Along with migrants from Central America, Mexican officials said last week that about 300,000 migrants from around the globe had entered Mexico with the intention of illegally crossing into the United States in the first three months of 2019.

Migrants break border gate 1
Central American migrants, part of the caravan hoping to reach the U.S. border, walk on the shoulder of a road in Frontera Hidalgo, Mexico, on April 12, 2019. (Isabel Mateos/Photo via AP)

The country’s Interior Secretary Olga Sánchez Cordero said at a press conference on April 23 that Mexico had seen an increase in migrants from Honduras and a smaller number from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Cuba along with African and Asian nations, reported local news website Mexico News Daily.

Sánchez Cordero described this migration flow as “unprecedented and unusual” and added that “six caravanas madrecitas,” or little mother caravans that have around 2,000 people each, entered Mexico in recent months.

On April 18, an Epoch Times reporter who was at the border reported that Border Patrol agents had arrested seven Chinese, one Mexican, and one El Salvadoran minor who crossed the border illegally at Mission, Texas.

“Out with #BorderPatrol in Mission, Texas, and just caught 7 Chinese, 1 Mexican, and 1 El Salvadoran minor. All trying to evade capture. Chinese man said he paid $15k for the whole package (flights to Mexico, smuggled across border),” Epoch Times reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson wrote on Twitter.

Last month, CBP said agents encountered over 103,000 individuals on the southwestern border in the month of March. Of those, 92,000 were Border Patrol apprehensions—which is an increase of 35 percent compared to February.

The agency also said that for the first half of the 2019 fiscal year, agents arrested over 385,000 illegal immigrants at the southwest border, which is more than double the apprehensions during the same period last fiscal year.

Follow Janita on Twitter: @janitakan
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