A 10-month-old was found dead, and at least three other people were reported missing after a raft carrying several migrants attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border overturned Wednesday night in the Rio Grande, officials said.
U.S. Border Patrol agents near Del Rio, Texas, were approached by a man at 9:45 p.m. who reported that a rubber raft carrying nine migrants, including his family members, capsized in the cold, fast-flowing waters of the Rio Grande, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol statement said.
He told border agents his infant boy, 6-year-old son, wife and nephew, 7, were swept away. The body of the deceased boy was recovered several miles downriver.
“What we’re dealing with now is senseless tragedy,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Raul L. Ortiz said in a statement. “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.”
According to CBP, agents heard the man’s wife and older son struggling to stay afloat in the river and were able to rescue them. The boy was taken to a hospital for treatment. His injuries were not disclosed.
Another man and his 13-year-old child were rescued nearby. They didn't require medical assistance and were detained by authorities.
The Border Patrol will coordinate with local officials and the Mexican government to search for the remaining three people missing.
A record number of Central American families have been crossing the border, some on foot and some via the river. Just last week, border agents rescued 10 people in a sinking raft in the same area, including a 3-year-old child who had become separated from her mother on the Mexico side.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.