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Contact: Jennette Jurado, 432-477-1109
An ongoing search is underway for a visitor at Big Bend National Park. On the afternoon of Sunday, August 13, Rene Cervantes, Jr., of Pharr, Texas, was swimming with friends in the Rio Grande near Hot Springs. The swift current swept him downstream around 1:15pm.
At the time of the incident, river levels at that location were 3,450 cubic feet per second (cfs), with a channel depth of 7.09 feet. Base flow for this stretch of river ranges from 50 to 200 cfs, with the rainy season adding significant increases following upstream rainfall.
An initial interagency search of Hot Springs Canyon to the Boquillas Port of Entry was conducted by National Park Service rangers and Custom & Border Protection officers, via boat, helicopter, and ground searchers. The search was resumed and expanded on the morning of the 14th, including National Park Service motor boats, canoes, and kayaks, as well as a Customs & Border Protection helicopter. Current river levels are 4,100 cfs, and river levels are expected to rise further overnight and stay at elevated flows for three to four weeks.
Big Bend National Park reminds visitors to use extreme caution during periods of elevated river levels and strong currents.
Mr. Cervantes is a 19-year-old Hispanic male, with brown hair, brown eyes, and thin build. He was wearing black shorts and no shirt. If found, please call the park’s communications office at 432-477-1187.