Border Patrol agents rescue 17 migrants from Rio Grande on Valentine's Day

EAGLE PASS, Texas - U.S. Border Patrol agents and marine units from the Eagle Pass Station rescued 17 Central American migrants from the Rio Grande River in three incidents Thursday.

"As the number of migrants crossing the dangerous Rio Grande River has risen over the past several weeks, so too have our number of rescues," said Del Rio Sector Acting Chief Patrol Agent Matthew J. Hudak. "No loss of life or injury took place during these operations thanks to the quick actions taken by our agents, of whom I'm extremely proud."

At approximately 2:30 a.m. on February 14, 2019, Border Patrol agents reported hearing cries coming from the Rio Grande River. 

A CBP helicopter in the area responded and confirmed a group of eight migrants appeared to be stranded on a small island in the middle of the river. Agents assigned to an elite search, trauma and rescue unit successfully reached the group and brought them to the riverbank on the US side of the border.

Later in the day - at approximately 12:15 p.m. - another group of six migrants entered the river and attempted to cross into the US. The group was overwhelmed by high water levels and the swift current. Border Patrol marine units quickly responded, pulled the group on board their vessel and transported them to the U.S. 

The third water rescue of the day occurred at around 3:40 p.m. Agents once again spotted a group of people in the river, apparently in distress.  Marine units deployed and pulled the group of three to safety. An ambulance transported the group to a hospital in Eagle Pass for further treatment and observation.

Of the 17 migrants rescued during these attempts to cross the Rio Grande, 16 were from Honduras.  That included six children ranging in age from one to 17 years old. A 3-year-old Guatemalan child was with the group as well. 

Since February 4, 2019, Border Patrol agents in Del Rio Sector have rescued 35 people from the Rio Grande River.

1,800 people, mostly Hondurans, arrived across the river in Piedras Negras, Mexico earlier this month. Mexican authorities are not allowing the migrants into the US, instead housing them inside a former factory while their asylum claims are processed in the US.

In recent days, some of the migrants have clashed with Mexican authorities. Others have escaped and attempted to enter the US by swimming across the Rio Grande. 

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