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Authorities nab man suspected of illegal swim into US

U.S. Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft with the 914th Airlift Wing, Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station, N.Y., fly in formation over Niagara Falls, Feb 4, 2017. The 914th Airlift Wing is commemorating the departure of their C-130 Hercules aircraft as they transition in to becoming a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker air refueling wing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. John R. Nimmo, Sr./Released)

Three people are in custody after an apparent attempt by a Spanish citizen to enter the United States by swimming across the Niagara River.

The bold attempt took place Tuesday evening, when U.S. Border Patrol responded to a report of a man swimming across the Niagara River, in cold and treacherous waters just south of the Whirlpool Bridge.

Agents searching the shoreline, along with officers from the New York State Park Police, quickly found a life vest and swim fins nearby but there was no sign of the swimmer. Investigators were able to determine that the swimmer had been picked-up by car and issued a be-on-the-lookout for the vehicle to local law enforcement agencies.

At about 3:20 a.m., Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies located the suspect vehicle in the parking lot of the Factory Outlet Mall on Military Road in the Town of Niagara. Border Patrol agents who responded to that scene located the swimmer and two other individuals believed to have been involved in the incident.

The suspected swimmer and one of the individuals in the vehicle are citizens of Spain. The third subject, who was the driver of the vehicle, was determined to be a citizen of the United States.

All three suspects have been taken into custody but none of them have been identified by name.

“This individual placed himself in extreme danger by swimming across the Niagara River in attempt to illegally enter the U.S. and is lucky to have survived the ordeal,” Border Patrol Agent-in-Charge Josh Barrett said. “The river is immensely hazardous with rapids, strong currents and low water temperatures.”


© 2019 the Niagara Gazette (Niagara Falls, N.Y.)

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