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new hovercraft technology to aide in migrant searches

Kleberg County Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said the new hovercraft technology is capable of patrolling and exiting the narrow Los Olmos Creek.

KLEBERG COUNTY, Texas — The Kleberg County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a new type of technology to stop illegal crossing of the Texas-Mexico border.

Kleberg County Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said the new hovercraft technology is capable of aerial surveillance, which can enter and exit the narrow Los Olmos Creek.

Kirkpatrick adds that the creek is crossed by about 20,000 migrants each year, leaving behind water bottles and other rubbish, including clothing. He said when migrants cross the creek, they end up undressing because the water is so salty it burns their skin.

The department is then called to rescue them and in other cases they find bodies along the creek, but getting there is the problem. Due to the dense brush area and the fact that the creek is shallow in some places that only the hovercraft could get through.

We applied for a grant to buy an amphibious vehicle like a hovercraft or something similar to patrol these areas because we just don’t have access to them,” Kirkpatrick said.

The sheriff said the grant was through the state’s Lonestar program. He is asking for around $700,000 to purchase the hovercraft along with telecommunications equipment to help deal with the migrant situation in his county.

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