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A Texas Nationwide Guard soldier drowned early Friday within the Rio Grande whereas attempting to rescue migrants battling swift currents as they crossed the border, in accordance with state officers.

Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Division of Public Security mentioned the Guard member was a part of the border safety initiative Operation Lone Star, which was ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Olivarez mentioned the Guard member was carried away by the present through the rescue try close to Eagle Cross, Tex., a border metropolis about 140 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Highly effective river currents have resulted in at the very least 10 drownings this week alone, Olivarez mentioned. Eagle Cross officers mentioned that in current weeks they’ve seen a rise in crossings from Piedras Negras, Mexico, town on the other facet of the Rio Grande from Eagle Cross.

Officers haven’t recovered the soldier’s physique. The Texas Army Division confirmed a soldier disappeared however didn’t confirm stories of a fatality, calling them false.

“The Texas Army Division, Texas DPS and Border Patrol are working quickly to seek out the Soldier,” a press release launched Friday mentioned.

The division mentioned extra particulars will likely be launched as they turn out to be accessible.

Jon Anfinsen, native president of the Border Patrol union within the Del Rio sector, mentioned the younger soldier reacted when he noticed a lady in misery, in accordance with calls he acquired from brokers. The soldier pulled off his armor, put down his rifle and jumped into the river after her.

The lady survived, Anfinsen mentioned. However the soldier has not been seen since.

Nationwide Guard members stationed on the border sometimes arrange their gear on the river financial institution. It isn’t clear whether or not the soldier was sporting any flotation units. The water degree varies from knee- to chin-high. A physique was recovered but it surely seems to be unrelated to the soldier’s vanishing, three officers confirmed.

Eleven our bodies have been recovered from the U.S. facet of this stretch of river — which extends past Del Rio to the west — the union chief mentioned, and at the very least 12 have been discovered on the Mexican facet this month alone. It’s a tragedy that weighs on Border Patrol brokers, Anfinsen added.

“Generally you see migrants use an internal tube, however on this a part of the river, folks maintain palms and stroll throughout in a human chain. In the event that they step in a gap, that’s it,” he mentioned. “The river appears calm and walkable but it surely’s fast-moving and deceiving.”

A Border Patrol dive staff and state troopers are aiding within the search. A number of hours have handed because the soldier was final seen round 9 a.m. Central time, state and union officers mentioned.

Border Patrol brokers rescued a dozen folks in the identical space final week after the “group was scattered after being swept off their ft by the swift present,” in accordance with a launch from Del Rio sector spokesman Dennis Smith.

“Brokers acted rapidly and deployed flotation units and rescue ropes. The boat unit made a number of journeys to the boat ramp, ferrying the themes to security.”

Eagle Cross’s mayor lamented the spate of deaths.

“It’s simply so many individuals crossing, many are holding youngsters and older girls are crossing and we don’t know if they will even swim,” Mayor Rolando Salinas mentioned, confirming the search was for the 22-year-old male soldier. “Most occasions folks cross when the water is low, however in Spanish we name it the Rio Bravo as a result of it’s actually unpredictable.”

Earlier this month, a 14-year-old from Honduras died whereas making an attempt to cross the Rio Grande along with his cousins and sister close to the identical border metropolis. The teenagers have been touring to be reunited with household in Houston however his sister misplaced grip of Cristopher Alvarado Sabillón at the hours of darkness waters, in accordance with NBC Information.

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