EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — We’re getting a look at how a dramatic water rescue unfolded late Friday night when El Paso Firefighters and U.S. Border Patrol Agents rescued two sets of migrants caught in swift currents in the American Canal.
According to U.S. Border Patrol, agents were conducting routine surveillance near Modesto Gomez Park when they saw two people clinging onto a steel ladder rung in the American Canal. The pair were in danger of being swept away in the swift canal current.
El Paso Fire Department’s Water Rescue Team arrived to assist. They were able to deploy a water safety line and pull the two people from the canal. A third person was able to escape the canal safely on his own and was taken into custody by Border Patrol agents.
Those rescued included a 21-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man from Guatemala and a 40-year-old Mexican national who was taken to a local hospital and later released to Border Patrol custody.
In a separate incident, just hours later, around 2 a.m., agents located two men, ages 18 and 21, who were struggling to hold on to a rescue ladder on the canal levee. Agents rescued the two Mexican nationals, and they were taken into custody.
“The quick response, coordination, and collaboration between El Paso agents and the El Paso Fire Department’s water rescue team helped save these individual’s lives,” stated El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez. “The video clearly shows the limited visibility under which these late night and early morning rescues were conducted, along with the danger posed by the force of the waterway’s currents.”