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First responders, Border Patrol urge safety in wake of Rio Grande drownings

Border Patrol and water rescue crews recovered three bodies from the Rio Grande within a seven-hour span on Tuesday.

This comes just a day after four different people were rescued from the river.

“We’re asking the communities on both sides, both in Juarez and the United States…anybody that knows somebody who may consider crossing the border — please we strongly encourage you to discourage them from doing so,” border patrol spokesman Joe Romero said. “We’ve been working very closely with our Mexican partners on the other side to try and limit or end the amount of crossing especially in those areas.”

At around 3:30 Tuesday morning, water rescue crews pulled a 14-year old girl from the river near Yarbrough. Then the body of a 20-year-old woman was recovered in that same spot just before 8 a.m. Just before 9 a.m. water crews recovered the body of a 17-year-old boy on the Rio Grande near Santa Fe.

“The water rescue team has the training, the technology, the equipment and the protections to go into the water,” El Paso fire department spokesman Carlos Briano said. “We prefer that if you do see someone that needs help that you call 911 immediately, whether it’s in the canals, the river, or a flooded street because you could become a victim as well.”

Monday afternoon border patrol agents called water rescue crews after seeing a group of five people get swept by the current on the Rio Grande near Santa Fe.

Three women were rescued by the fire department and transported to University Medical Center. One male was rescued by Mexican authorities.

Fire officials said the body of the 17-year-old recovered today was traveling with this group. Briano said there are other dangers besides just the rapid current.

“There could be some debris in there that you cannot see, that can knock you out. There could be mud, vegetation that you get stuck. There could be contaminants, alot of trash, alot of germs that you’re exposing yourself to,” Briano said.

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