Texas guardsman who drowned trying to save a migrant did not have flotation device

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A Texas National Guard subordinate who drowned connected the U.S.-Mexico border portion connected work was not equipped with a flotation instrumentality erstwhile helium jumped successful the Rio Grande to assistance a migrant who was struggling to aquatics across, authorities officials said Wednesday.

Spc. Bishop Evans, who was missing 3 days earlier hunt crews recovered his assemblage Monday, was among the much than 6,100 defender members stationed connected the borderline arsenic portion of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott's monolithic borderline information ngo known arsenic Operation Lone Star. The ngo has 43 flotation devices for defender members who are assigned to vessel missions, Maj. Gen. Thomas Suelzer said. Evans was not a vessel unit member.

Requests for much flotation devices were archetypal made successful February but person been delayed by proviso concatenation issues, Suelzer told lawmakers successful the Texas Capitol portion facing questions astir Evans' death, debased morale and instrumentality shortages that person rattled the yearlong mission. Guard leaders defended not issuing each soldiers flotation devices because, they said, galore are stationed connected land.

Suelzer said that since Evans' death, defender members person been instructed not to spell successful the h2o unless they person peculiar training.

"(He) was a quality being," Suelzer said. "He saw a quality being drowning and helium jumped successful the h2o to prevention them."

Migrant rescues by Border Patrol are communal on Texas' 1,200-mile (1,930-kilometer) borderline with Mexico. Attempted crossings are sometimes deadly.

Brig. Gen. Monie Ulis said that defender members mostly enactment connected the banks to assistance migrants, and that helium could callback lone 4 oregon 5 instances wherever a defender subordinate went into the water.

Evans is astatine slightest the 5th defender subordinate who has died during the mission, a fig that included suicides, said authorities Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat has called for an inquest into the deaths. The ngo includes thousands of authorities troopers, patrol boats connected the Rio Grande and surveillance aircraft, and costs the authorities much than $2 cardinal a day, said Steve McCraw, the manager of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Abbott gave defender members antithetic authorization past twelvemonth to detain and apprehension migrants, but astir connected the ngo are assigned to reflection posts. Guard leaders acknowledged morale problems, including instrumentality shortages and sparse surviving conditions, but said improvements person been made successful caller months.

"Average morale would beryllium astir a seven," Ulis said. "Far supra erstwhile we archetypal started."

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