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Migrant death toll up to 9 in deadly Rio Grande crossing attempts

US and Mexico officials continued to search for additional bodies along the Texas border after at least nine migrants died attempting to cross the perilously rain-swollen Rio Grande River.

In one of the deadliest border drownings in recent history, US Customs and Border Protection have so far recovered six bodies while Mexico officials recovered three, according to a CBP statement.

The first bodies were found near Eagle Pass, Texas on Thursday after days of heavy rain in the region. The river — which is only about 3-feet deep earlier in the week — surged to over 5-feet deep on Thursday and was flowing more than five times faster than usual, according to the National Weather Service.

Among the bodies recovered by Mexican officials were a man and pregnant woman of unknown nationalities, Francisco Contreras, a member of Civil Protection in the Mexican border state of Coahuila, told the Associated Press. No information was immediately available about the third victim.

CBP has not released any information regarding those recovered by US officials and has not provided any additional information on its search and rescue operations.

US officials rescued 37 others from the river and detained 16 more. Mexican officials took an additional 39 migrants into custody along the border.

A member of the Texas National Guard looks across the Rio Grande to Mexico from the U.S. at Eagle Pass, Texas,
A Texas National Guard member looks across the Rio Grande to Mexico on Friday.
Eric Gay/AP

Eagle Pass, located about 140 miles southwest of San Antonio, is under the jurisdiction of CBP’s 245-mile-long Del Rio sector, which is quickly emerging as one of the busiest corridors for crossing into the United States. CBP agents encountered nearly 50,000 migrants passing through the sector in July.

This year is on track to break last year’s record for the most deaths on the US-Mexico border since 2014, when the UN’s International Organization for Migration began keeping records. Most migrants die from dehydration or drowning, according to the organization.

Since 2014, more than 4,000 deaths have been recorded at the border — including 728 last year and 412 during the first seven months of this year. June was the fourth-deadliest month on record, with 138 fatalities.

With Post wires

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