One woman drowned and 13 people were pulled from the water after up to 70 people attempted to illegally enter the United States from Tijuana by swimming around the barrier at Border Field State Park in San Diego, federal officials say. 

U.S. Border Patrol agents found the woman unresponsive early Saturday after being notified that dozens of immigrants were attempting the swim, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a statement.

According to the statement, CPR was performed by the agents and a San Diego Fire-Rescue team arrived. However, the victim was declared dead on the spot. The body was transferred to the San Diego Medical Examiner.

13 individuals were rescued by the Coast Guard from the sea. The Border Patrol, Coast Guard, San Diego fire crews and California State Parks officers conducted a search of the area and took 36 Mexican nationals into custody, including 25 men and 11 women.

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“This is yet another example of the ruthless tactics smuggling organizations use to bolster their power and profits.” San Diego Sector’s Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said. “We will work tirelessly to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for this tragedy.” 

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The number of border deaths rose sharply during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2018. This 557 figure was nearly double the 2020 total of 254 deaths. These figures only include bodies that were recovered by Border Patrol personnel. There are likely to be more deaths if local or state agencies and states also collect bodies.

Border Field State Park marks the southwestern corner of the United States, 15 miles south of San Diego. The wildlife habitat includes sand dunes and salt marshes. The park website states that swimming and wading are not recommended due to dangerous conditions such as inshore holes and rip currents. There is also no lifeguard service.

Source: USAToday.com

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