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Border Patrol agents help rescue Uzbekistani national from Rio Grande

A Border Patrol agent was performing line watch operations two miles south of the Del Rio Port of Entry when he was advised of a woman in distress in the river.
Credit: U.S Customs and Border Protection

DEL RIO, Texas — U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Del Rio Station, along with a Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations helicopter crew, rescued an Uzbekistani national who tried to cross the Rio Grande, Monday Nov. 23.

“The heroism and teamwork these agents displayed is what we do in CBP,” Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II said in a CBP press release. “Two components working together to prevent loss of life. If not for these agents’ quick and decisive actions, this story could have had a tragic ending.”

According to the release, a Border Patrol agent assigned to the Del Rio Station was performing line watch operations two miles south of the Del Rio Port of Entry when he was advised of a woman in distress in the river. The agent quickly responded and found a woman trying to cross the river, struggling to stay afloat. The agent retrieved his water rescue device and tried to throw it to the victim, but eventually lost the device, unable to reach her.

An Air and Marine Operations (AMO) EC120 crew was in the vicinity of the agent and responded to assist, according to the release. Upon landing, an Air Interdiction Agent (AIA) grabbed a rescue rope carried onboard the aircraft and ran to help the agent. Together, the agents were able to successfully deploy the water rescue device and pull the woman onto the river bank.

The AIA piloting the helicopter re-launched to provide overhead coverage, and once the woman was safely ashore, guided EMS to the woman's location while the agents rendered aid.

The woman was transported to a local hospital for evaluation and treatment. Once she was released from the hospital, the woman, later determined to be a national of Uzbekistan, will be transferred to the Del Rio Station and processed per CBP guidelines.

“The seamless coordination of our AMO agents and our Border Patrol partners was paramount to rescuing this woman,” Director of Air and Marine Operations, Uvalde Air Branch, Quinton Burough, said in the release. “In remote areas, CBP personnel and resources are very often the only lifeline for those who find themselves in danger.”