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4 people, including an infant, drown in Rio Grande over holiday weekend

The drownings came as Texas officials plan to roll out marine floating barriers along parts of the Rio Grande in a bid to discourage irregular border crossings.
Image: Border Patrol Agents Patrol Near Eagle Pass, Texas
People try to cross the Rio Grande and enter the U.S. from Mexico in Eagle Pass, Texas, on June 14.Brandon Bell / Getty Images

Four people, including an infant, were found drowned in the Rio Grande along the U.S.-Mexico border in Eagle Pass over the holiday weekend, an official said.

An unidentified woman and the infant girl were found unresponsive and "floating along the river" Saturday, Lt. Christopher Olivarez, a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said in a tweet.

The department's tactical marine unit had initially responded to a request for assistance from the U.S. Border Patrol for a "possible infant drowning," he said.

Four people were recovered from the water and brought onboard a rescue vessel, he said, adding that two of those people survived and were turned over to the Border Patrol.

The woman and child were found to be unresponsive, Olivarez said. Responders immediately performed chest compressions on them and took them to a medical center, but they could not be saved, he said.

On Sunday, the body of an unidentified man was recovered from the river, with the body of an unidentified woman found a day later.

"The identities of the deceased remain unknown since none possessed identifying documents," Olivarez said.

The drownings came as Texas officials prepared to roll out marine floating barriers along parts of the Rio Grande in a bid to discourage irregular border crossings. The first 1,000 feet was expected to be deployed near Eagle Pass, Gov. Greg Abbott announced last month.

"This strategy will proactively prevent illegal crossings between ports of entry by making it more difficult to cross the Rio Grande and reach the Texas side of the southern border," his office said in a news release.

Experts have warned that a recent persistent heat wave impacting the Southwest could endanger the lives of migrants and asylum-seekers who often undertake long and arduous journeys in hopes of crossing into the U.S.

“People just don’t know what they’re up against,” said Laurie Cantillo, a board member and volunteer for Humane Borders, a nonprofit group that sets up water stations and delivers supplies to people attempting to cross into the U.S. through remote and often treacherous landscapes.

An oppressive heat wave has affected much of the South in recent weeks, bringing triple-digit temperatures to millions of people, with Texas particularly hit hard. However, this past weekend brought some respite to many in the state with lower, but still hot, temperatures. It was not clear whether the heat played any role in the deaths of the four people found over the holiday weekend.