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Border Patrol: Man swims across Niagara River rapids to enter U.S. illegally

A Spanish national who allegedly swam across the Niagara River just south of the Whirlpool Bridge in Niagara Falls was arrested Tuesday along with two other individuals, according to U.S. Border Patrol agents.

Border Patrol agents recovered a life vest and swim fins near the shoreline, but not any suspects initially, they said.

At about 3:20 a.m. Wednesday, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office located a vehicle that was believed to have been involved in the incident and arrested the suspected swimmer and two other individuals at a local mall, then notified Border Patrol. The suspected swimmer and another Spanish citizen were arrested, along with a third person, who was later revealed to be the driver of the vehicle and turned out to be a U.S. citizen, officials said.

"This individual placed himself in extreme danger by swimming across the Niagara River in an attempt to enter the U.S. and is lucky to have survived the ordeal," said Patrol Agent in Charge Josh Barnett of the Niagara Falls Border Patrol Station.

"The river is immensely hazardous with rapids, strong currents and low water temperatures,"  Barnett added.

Border Patrol spokesman Mike Niezgoda said he could not yet identify the people taken into custody, citing privacy concerns and the ongoing investigation.

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