Sheriff said authorities are looking for a Texas National Guard soldier missing after a rescue attempt at the border
The Texas Military Department said authorities are searching for a Texas Army National Guard soldier tasked with enforcing the border who went missing along the Rio Grande River during a “mission-related incident” Friday morning.
“We are aware of reports of a death, although these reports are inaccurate,” the statement read. “The Texas Military Department, the Texas DPS, and the Border Patrol are working quickly to find the soldier.”
Sheriff Tom Schmerber of Maverick County said the soldier was trying to rescue a struggling migrant in the water.
The guard member went to her aid and seemed to be pulled away by the current, he said.
“He jumped in the river,” Schmerber said. “They’ve never seen him get out.”
Schmerber, whose management was involved in the search early on, said the woman made it through and was placed in Border Patrol custody.
Strong currents have created treacherous conditions for people trying to cross the Rio Grande this month, according to US Customs and Border Protection.
Earlier this month, a maritime border patrol unit quickly rescued several people who were “swept off their feet”, the agency said.
Friday’s incident comes nearly a year after law enforcement ramped up along the Rio Grande River as part of Operation Lone Star.
“We will work to increase the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis,” Abbott said, when Operation Lone Star was launched in March 2021.
He blamed the Biden administration for policies he said had invited illegal immigration and turbulent borders in a growing humanitarian crisis. .