Border Patrol Rescues Increase Significantly

The number of illegal immigrants rescued from emergency situations by Border Patrol has gone up more than 50 percent this year, so far.

In one of the rescues caught on tape, a raft carrying more than a dozen people trying to cross illegally into the U.S. can be seen swept away by the strong currents from the swollen Rio Grande. Many of the people who fell into the water were carried away by the murky waters.

"You're not only putting yourself in danger, you're also putting the people who have to rescue you in danger as well," Border Patrol Spokesperson Rosie Huey said.

Authorities say rescue attempts are happening more frequently. So far in August, Border Patrol agents rescued a dozen people, nine in the water and three on land from heat exhaustion.

"The risks of crossing the river right now are extremely dangerous with teh rising river and the heat temperatures reaching into the 100's," Huey added.

But not even the heat or rising river are stopping people from crossing over. Last year, during the first eight months, Border Patrol had rescued 60 people on land and sea. In the first eight months of 2010, the numbers skyrocketed to 96.

Border Patrol has set up four emergency beacons around the Falfurrias area, where people can call in for help.

They have also mounted more than 200 placards on top of windmills all around South Texas to use as guiding points. But prevention, they said,starts in Mexico.

"We are currently trying to work with the government of Mexico to put out a public services announcement to advice people about the dangers from the heat levels and the water rising," Huey concluded.

In the past ten days, agents also found the lifeless bodies of two men, one near Fronton and the other near Kingsville. Authorities said the cause of death was likely heat exhaustion.