Imperial Beach, California - San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents rescued 20 individuals with the aid of San Diego Fire & Rescue and discovered one person deceased on the beach during unusually heavy rains on Thanksgiving Day.
At approximately 11 p.m. on Nov. 28, a Border Patrol agent on patrol found three people attempting to enter the United States illegally near a border drainage tube that is located approximately two miles west of the San Ysidro Port of Entry.
The three people informed the agent that there were additional people inside the drainage tube. Agents contacted San Diego Fire & Rescue to help rescue the people from the drainage tube as the water was beginning to rise due to heavy rainfall.
Agents heard individuals yelling for help and quickly pulled one female to safety. She told agents that more individuals had also fallen down the drainage tube. Agents were able to locate the additional people through an access manhole. Using that access manhole, Border Patrol agents and Fire & Rescue personnel were able to rescue thirteen individuals.
Emergency medical services medically evaluated all 17 people and seven were transported to a nearby hospital for care.
At around 11:50 p.m., San Diego Fire & Rescue cleared the drainage tube system of additional subjects and departed the scene.
Later, at approximately 1 a.m., agents heard a female yelling for help in the same drainage tube. Fire & Rescue responded again and discovered a woman inside the drainage tube. Border Patrol agents also found two subjects near the exit of the tube. The female was rescued from the drainage tube and taken to a nearby hospital.
Of the twenty rescued people, 15 were Mexican men, one was a Guatemalan man, three were Mexican women, and one was an unaccompanied Mexican juvenile male. All people will be processed for illegally entering the United States.
At 2:40 a.m., an agent found an unknown and deceased person in the water line on the beach near the west end of the Tijuana river mouth. The agent contacted San Diego County Sheriff’s Department (SDSD) for assistance. SDSD took custody of the body and will investigate further. It is not known if this is related to these smuggling incidents.
“The lifesaving efforts of these agents, who bravely risk their own lives to save others, makes me proud,” said Chief Patrol Agent Douglas Harrison. “Inclement weather conditions and perilous drainage pipe water flows, significantly increase the odds of a grim outcome.”
Chief Harrison added, “These dangers are not important considerations to smugglers, who place an emphasis on profit over their victims’ safety. Simply put, it not worth crossing the border illegally and risking one’s life.”