Man drowns while crossing US-Mexico border canal amid stormy weather

Rescuers kept at bay 'due to heavy rain and low visibility', customs patrol service says

Sarah Harvard
New York
Monday 10 December 2018 00:13 GMT

A migrant drowned in a California canal after attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally during a heavy storm on Wednesday.

The man, whose identity remains unknown, and two others from El Salvador were spotted illegally crossing into the US near Calexico on Wednesday, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said in a statement.

CBP said it arrested the two other men after they swam across the All-American Canal in Imperial County, California.

The dead man had struggled to float during the 80-mile journey in water and drowned while heavy rainfall lashed the area.

“Agents were unable to get assistance to the man before he drowned,” CBP officials said. “Agents with the Border Patrol Search Trauma and Rescue (BORSTAR) quickly arrived on scene and attempted to retrieve the man’s body, but had to call off the operation due to heavy rain and low visibility.”

The man's body was recovered on Thursday morning.

Chief patrol agent Gloria Chavez said his death was an example of smugglers taking advantage of migrants who are desperate to flee their countries and enter the US.

“This incident tragically illustrates how human smuggling organisation place migrants in perilous situations,” Ms Chavez said. “This man put his trust in human smugglers and it cost him his life."

It is unknown if the three migrants were a part of the migrant caravan camping along the US-Mexico border outside of California.

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