Family finds comfort after body recovered

The mother of Andres Frias spoke to Action 4 News for the first time Monday since her son went missing in a McAllen canal more than a week ago.

His body was pulled from the canal off South 10th Street in McAllen early Sunday morning.

The Frias family is still grieving over the loss of the 18-year-old but say they are finding peace knowing his body has been found.

It brought me a lot of peace, Maria Frias said. I didn't want to wait years not knowing where he was at."

Maria Frias refused to leave the banks of the canal until her son TMs body was found.

"That's the only way they got me out of that area, Frias said.

McAllen Assistant City Manager Wendy Smith says it was no easy task.

It took several days to work out a good engineering plan because of the potential danger of the operation, Smith said. We wanted to make sure we could do it safely and quickly because of the impact of the water supply to the valley cities."

While they had a 24 hour window to complete the mission, the body was found 60 feet down a pipe less than three hours after they started pumping the water out of the canal.

The canal flows into the pipe, it TMs intended to push water from an open canal into a pipe that goes under the floodway so it makes it a dangerous swift water issue, Smith said. The water creates a whirlpool affect going into the pipe."

Frias says she hopes the city will put up gates to prevent another incident.

If they had a gate there I think my son would have survived, Frias said.

The city says they hope others can learn irrigation canals are not for play.

"Anything that would prevent debris from going into the pipe would also affect the flow of water and so it TMs illegal to swim in the irrigation canals, Smith said. It just shouldn't be done. It TMs not safe. Those canals are intended for raw water supplies to farmers and cities."

The rescue effort took the collaboration of 150 people from 18 different agencies.

The first rescue effort of its kind, each agency will pay for their portion of the cost, mostly from overtime and fuel for equipment.

The funeral arrangements are pending.

If you would like to help the family with funeral expenses you can donate at any IBC Bank to an account under Andres TM father, Jose Adrian Frias.