Bodies of two Romanian, Indian families trying to enter US from Canada found

Mar 31, 2023 10:44 PM IST

The corpses of six unidentified persons, including an Indian family, were discovered in an area along the border between Canada and the United States.

The corpses of six unidentified persons, including an Indian family, were discovered on Thursday in an area along the border between Canada and the United States.

Migrants seen at the US border. (AFP Representational)
Migrants seen at the US border. (AFP Representational)

According to Canadian media, the bodies were recovered from a marshy area near the St Lawrence River. The dead, according to reports citing local police, comprised two families, one from India and another from Romania. Among the victims of the tragedy was an infant, who had Canadian citizenship. The tragedy may have resulted from an attempt to illegally enter the US from Canada.

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In a release, the Akwesasne Mohawk Police said that the first body was located around 5.00 PM in a marsh area in Tsi Snaihne (Snye) Akwesasne in the province of Quebec. The Police Marine unit continued to search the area with assistance from the Coast Guard and the Hogansburg Akwesasne Volunteer Fire Department.

The police service said it will seek assistance from the Sûreté du Québec, the provincial police force, and the Ontario Provincial Police air support units to assist with the investigation.

Cause of death will be established after the results of a post-mortem and toxicology tests are available, the release added. “Police are attempting to identify the deceased persons at this time and ascertain their status in Canada,” it added.

In April last year, six Indian nationals were rescued from the freezing St Regis River in the same area. That followed “suspicious activity” being reported to the Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service about a boat carrying “multiple subjects” on the Saint Regis river and travelling from Cornwall in the province of Ontario.

That information was transmitted to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department. They “responded and observed the vessel taking on water and sinking in the Saint Regis River in Akwesasne. Six the those rescued and apprehended were identified as citizens of India, all aged between 19 and 21 years, and were charged with Improper Entry by Alien. Canadian media reported at least one among them may only have arrived in the country a week before attempting the crossing. They all were natives of Gujarat.

That incident occurred three months after four members of family from Gujarat, were found dead due to exposure to extreme winter conditions in the province of Manitoba, near the US border, in what was also a human smuggling operation gone wrong. That tragedy on January 19 claimed the lives of 39-year-old Jagdishkumar Baldevbhai Patel, his wife 37-year-old Vaishaliben Jagdishkumar Patel, their daughter 11-year-old Vihangi Jagdishkumar Patel, and son, three-year-old Dharmik Jagdishkumar Patel. They too were trying to illegally cross the border from Canada into the US.

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    Anirudh Bhattacharya is a Toronto-based commentator on North American issues, and an author. He has also worked as a journalist in New Delhi and New York spanning print, television and digital media. He tweets as @anirudhb.

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