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Hundreds of immigrants have died trying to cross California canal, officials say

A dangerous body of water

The All-American Canal has long been known as an engineering, hydrological and agricultural marvel, delivering enormous amounts of Colorado River water to arid Imperial County and turning a desert into one of the world's most productive farming regions.

But in recent years, it has had another reputation: the spot where hundreds of people have drowned, most of them undocumented migrants from Mexico trying desperately to cross the canal on their way north.

By most estimates, more than 500 people have drowned in the canal since it was completed in 1942. The peak year was 1998, when 31 died.

Now, after much controversy and some reluctance, the governmental owners and operators of the canal have begun a safety push along the 82-mile gravity-flow conveyance, long stretches of which parallel the border.

Carrying the message "Aguas Mortales: No Mueras en el intento" ("Deadly Waters: Don't Die Trying"), posters and fliers are being distributed on both sides of the border to discourage people from attempting to cross the canal, where the current is swift and the water shockingly cold.

Read the full story here.

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Photo: Kynan Barrios of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management demonstrates the use of a rescue pack along the All-American Canal about five miles west of Calexico. Credit: Joselito Villero / Imperial Valley Press

 
Comments () | Archives (29)

Yeah, right. As if a sign saying "Aguas Mortales: No Mueras en el intento" is going to keep illegals from trying to cross into California. I think that, if you don't want to get an STD, don't have unprotected sex. If you don't want to die in a car crash or kill someone else, don't drink before you get into the car. If you don't want to drown trying to cross into another country illegally, don't swim across the canal. Why is the government spending our tax dollars trying to prevent something that is 100% preventable? So, 500 people have died crossing through the canal? How many thousands more made it through since the 1942? We, as citizens, get to pay for illegal aliens to live here with our taxes and now we get to pay to prevent them from dying when they attempt to cross over illegally? There has to be something more important that our tax dollars could go to.

very sad

have mejico build a bridge over it?

Illegals don't belong in the USA!

It is our duty as citizens of the United States of Mexico , and of the state of Mexifornia to build bridges across this illiegal canal . These bridges are required to have manditory esculators , so these law abiding citizens wont have to walk or get wet . Lifegaurds will be posted every fifty feet , just in case these citizens decide to take a bath and clean up and change clothes from their long journey , washing machines and a canteenia will be provided . For those of them who wish to take the sceenic route on water , the Coast Gaurd will ferry each and every one of them

While it is sad so many have died we must remember these are not just immigrants. They are ILLIGAL immigrants breaking our laws to come into our state/country.

If they came through the doors that are open they would be safe. They chose to come through the window breaking into our "home" (country). They made the choice to cross illigally and take the chance knowing risks.

Our doors need to be open. We need to make sure people coming into our country have the correct background check. If people want jobs and to be part of our society WELCOME!! We also need to remember that if we crossed illigally into another country, including Mexico, we would end up in jail for years.

More hysterically emotional, pro-illegal alien, pro-amnesty, anti-American propaganda from the L.A. Times-- "Viva La Raza!" Am I right? Huh? Huh??

If they would just come legally they wouldn't be dying. I say they deserve what they get. We should have guard towers with snipers picking off the ones that don't drown.

yea but for every hundred that dies a thousand more are born, the way they reproduce like rabbits

sad, but not my problem. if 500 had died stealing cars or in DUIs no one would blink.

If you do something illegal, you are bound to get hurt--sounds like there are 500 less people in the USA I have to support with my tax dollars.

enough is enough, stop illegal immigration now.

Why don't we supply boats to help these migrants into the US?

And just why are we responsible for protectecting someone who is in the the act of committing an illegal act?

These individuals are NOT IMMIGRANTS.
Immigrants come to this country LEGALLY, through the common entry points, designed to accomodate LEGAL traffic.
These individuals are criminals, who tried to enter the country ILLEGALLY.
Someone not knowing the difference has no business writing an article on the subject, he / she is NOT doing anybody any favors, just obfuscates the issue. This is YELLOW JOURNALISM at its best.

This article is proof as to why we need a secure boarder. It's not about illegal immigration...It's about protecting people from natures deadly elements and human trafficking. It's that simple.

Easy solution. Install long range camaras in the areas more likely to be used by the inmigrants. If they get caught and are returned to their country, that along will discourage them of trying again. As long as we keep turning our backs and pretend that the problem doesn't exist, more inmigrants will keep risking their lives trying
to enter the USA.

Quit giving Migrants a bad name, They are Loyal people that have come to the USA for a better life! And to Call the Illegals "undocumented migrants", is a SLAP in the FACE for the TRUE MIGRANTS coming to America! If they applied for the right to come here, they would not drowned in the River! When some one does something illegal there is always a price to be paid. And for once it is the Illegal paying the price and not the USA!

I cannot feel any sympathy for these people. They are breaking hte law every time they make it across that canal. They have no business in this country if they can't do it legally. We have enough of your people on welfare now. The welfare rolls are bursting at the seams and frankly as a tax payer I do ot want my money to go to care for illegal immigrants. The warning are not strong enough apparently.

Sounds like we should be building more canals instead of walls. They seem to work better at keeping the illegals out.

In that same amount of time, how many US citizens have been killed by Mexican drug runners and traffickers? How many border patrol agents? How many routine law enforcement stops?
These poor illegal aliens from Mexico need to have free rein in the US don't they?

Now that Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer are back, they must have heard that California is illegal friendly again and wanted to return.

That's what happens when you break the law, bad things.

No sympathy.

GOOD.

DO NOT COME HERE ILLEGALY.IT'S AGINST THE LAW MY RELITIVES CAME HERE IN 1901 AND WENT STRAIGHT TO ELIS ISLAND AND BECAME U.S. CITIZINES LEGALY.

More than one million dollars to protect stupid people intent on breaking the law? Really? There's nothing better to spend the money on?

SO WHAT!

 
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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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