LAREDO, Texas — A tragic video appears to show young migrants drowning in the Rio Grande, a deadly turn in the escalating border catastrophe. The footage was captured by fisherman Jesus Vargas. It shows three people in the water near the border town of Laredo, Texas, with only their heads bobbing above the surface, New York Post reported.
“You don’t have life jackets, nothing? They’re drowning, these guys!” Vargas is heard shouting at US Border Patrol agents standing on the shoreline nearby.
“That girl didn’t come out no more!” Vargas yells of one apparent victim.
He used his fishing reel to save one boy, about 13 years old, but he claims a woman and two teenage boys drowned. Border Patrol said only two people died. The incident took place after agents “foiled a human smuggling attempt,” the agency’s Laredo sector posted on Facebook.
The post said that agents saw several people attempt to swim across the river into Mexico and that some were taken into custody while others safely made it to the Mexican riverbank.
“Two individuals succumbed to the dangerous currents of the Rio Grande river and perished,” the statement said.
Video that Vargas shot appears to show Mexican authorities recovering a body on the opposite side of the river. The Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Professional Responsibility is reviewing the incident, the agency said. The Border Patrol did not respond to requests for further comment from The Post.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees both agencies, said it had no other information available, Fox reported.
The drownings occurred on Tuesday, and after the video he posted to Facebook went viral, Vargas told a local TV station that he had been getting calls from Guatemala and other Central American countries asking about the woman. Vargas said the number of people he sees trying to cross the border has increased dramatically. He said he tells migrants, “Don’t cross the river.”