BROWNSVILLE, TX — Marine Interdiction Agents (MIAs) from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Air and Marine, Brownsville Marine Unit, working in a coordinated response effort with the U.S. Coast Guard and Port Isabel fire and police officials, recently helped effect the rescue and stabilization of a distressed subject suffering from hypothermia after exposure to frigid waters in the Brownsville Ship Channel.
“Our Marine Interdiction Agents braved frigid waters in the Brownsville Ship Channel to rescue a distressed person and by working hand in hand with our partners at the U.S. Coast Guard and Port Isabel Police and Fire Departments helped render lifesaving aid that led to that person’s recovery,” said Matt Reichle, Director, Marine Operations, McAllen Air and Marine Branch.
The incident began on Dec. 10, when the Brownsville Marine Unit received a request for assistance to locate distressed persons in the Brownsville Ship Channel. The recent rainy weather conditions made roads impassable and water temperature was approximately 50-55 degrees.
Brownsville Marine Unit MIAs, including one who is a certified EMT and member of the Air and Marine Emergency Medical Service, departed aboard a marine vessel and quickly located a subject on shore and two more subjects face down in the water. Upon extrication from the water, MIAs found that the two subjects in the water were unconscious, without pulse or respiration. MIAs administered chest compressions but it became immediately apparent that both subjects had already expired.
Brownsville MIAs rendered aid to the subject on the shore and applied a hypothermia prevention kit with air activated warming sheet.
A Coast Guard asset arrived to assist and Brownsville MIAs loaded the subject for transport on the Coast Guard vessel to a warm and stable environment on shore. A coordinated team of Brownsville MIAs, Coast Guard crew members and Texas DPS officers carried the subject on a litter to the Brownsville Marine Unit office, where Brownsville MIAs provided further stabilization assistance prior to his transport by Port Isabel EMS to a local hospital. The remains of the other two subjects were recovered by Brownsville Marine Unit MIAs and Port Isabel police officers and they were turned over to the local medical examiner.