Mexican teens rescued from dangerous border canal in El Paso


A U.S. Border Patrol Agent assisted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducted an emergency water rescue from a perilous canal near the historic Chihuahuita neighborhood in downtown El Paso. (CBP)

EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) — While inspecting a train at an international railroad crossing, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers spotted three individuals enter the American Canal down below.

CBP officials said the group of teenagers had entered the U.S. illegally and was trying to elude Border Patrol agents shortly after 1 a.m. Friday in the historic Chihuahuita neighborhood just west of the Paso Del Norte bridge in Downtown El Paso.

The American Canal, which runs parallel to the Rio Grande, is known for its dangerous and unpredictable undercurrents. It has been the site of many rescues and recoveries in the past.

On Friday, border authorities noticed that the teens were in danger almost as soon as they entered the canal, with the swift and cold waters sweeping one of them under the canal watergate.

A responding CBP canine officer was able to reach down and pull the teen to safety, according to a Border Patrol news release.

Agents and officers were then able to secure a water safety line and rescue the remaining two teens from the canal. Officials identified three teens as Mexican national — two age 17 and one 18-year-old.

 “Interagency cooperation is an integral part of CBP. In this case, the immediate reaction by our agent and the three CBP Officers saved the lives of three individuals who were trapped in the dangerous swift currents of the American canal,” El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez said in a statement. “The inherent danger with attempting to cross into the United States illegally is present, not only in isolated desert areas, or in the hands of criminal organizations but also in the swift waters of the American Canal.”

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