Texas National Guard Soldier Drowns in Rio Grande While Trying to Rescue Migrants Crossing the Border

A Texas National Guard soldier drowned early Friday in the Rio Grande while trying to rescue migrants struggling with swift currents as they crossed the border, according to state officials.

Lt. Christopher Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety said the Guard member was part of the border security initiative Operation Lone Star, which was ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Olivarez said the Guard member was carried away by the current during the rescue attempt near Eagle Pass, Tex., a border city about 140 miles southwest of San Antonio.

Powerful river currents have resulted in at least 10 drownings this week alone, Olivarez said. Eagle Pass officials said that in recent weeks they have seen an increase in crossings from Piedras Negras, Mexico, the city on the opposite side of the Rio Grande from Eagle Pass.

Officials have not recovered the soldier’s body. The Texas Military Department confirmed a soldier disappeared but did not verify reports of a fatality, calling them false.

“The Texas Military Department, Texas DPS and Border Patrol are working rapidly to find the Soldier,” a statement released Friday said.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Arelis R. Hernández

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