Administration officials said on Friday that eight migrants drowned and 37 others were rescued as they tried to cross the rain-swollen raging waters of the Rio Grande river to reach the United States.
The migrants were among scores of people crossing the river near Eagle Pass, a town in southern Texas that has become a major entry point for migrants in the last year.
After heavy rains, the Rio Grande is several feet higher than normal and currents become hazardous, crossing it is at its most dangerous.
Rick Pauza, spokesman for the Customs and Border Protection office in Laredo, Texas, said in a statement that the authorities were continuing with the aid of the local fire department and sheriff’s office to search for possible survivors.
In addition to the eight migrants who died, 37 others were rescued, the statement said, among a total of 53 migrants taken into custody by the U.S. authorities at the scene. The Mexican authorities apprehended an additional 39 migrants who were part of the group.
This is not the first of such tragic cases, as drownings have become an everyday occurrence in that section of the border, where as many as one a day, and sometimes more lose their lives at the crossing, said the chief, a 58-year-old Eagle Pass native.
About two months ago, he said, 12 bodies were recovered on the same day — six by the Mexican authorities and six by U.S. rescue officials — after another large group tried to cross into the United States.