Pilot, agents, concerned citizens rescue child and father from canal

YUMA - A Yuma Air Branch air interdiction agent, Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents, and concerned members of the public saved the life of a two-year-old boy and his father who were struggling in the Salinity Canal Monday evening, March 1, according to a press release.

A 23-year-old illegal alien entered the canal with his son strapped to his back and was quickly swept away by the rapid current. National Guardsmen detailed to the Yuma Sector Border Patrol Operations Center observed the incident on the video surveillance system and alerted agents in the area. An air interdiction agent who was piloting a helicopter in the area at the time saw the man and child in the canal and landed his helicopter along the canal bank to provide aid. The pilot repeatedly threw rescue lines to the father, who was unable to catch it due to the fast-moving current.

Border Patrol agents and concerned citizens who were in the area responded to the scene and attempted to throw rescue lines to the father with no success. A Yuma station agent removed his uniform, entered the water, and rescued the child with the help of other agents and citizens. After pulling the agent and child to the side of the canal, they were able to safely remove them from the water.

Agents and the concerned citizens were also able to pull the father from the water. Fire department personnel from the San Luis, Arizona, and San Luis Rio Colorado fire departments responded to the scene. The father and son were transported to Yuma Regional Medical Center where the child was treated for hypothermia. They were later released to Yuma Border Patrol agents for further processing.

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