Eight bodies found in St Lawrence River near US-Canada border

Eight bodies found in St Lawrence River near US-Canada border

Authorities say they have recovered the bodies of eight migrants, including two children, who died trying to cross illegally from Canada into the US.

A police helicopter spotted two more bodies in the St Lawrence River on Friday. Two families from Romania and India are among the dead.

Officials at the time were searching for a missing boater in the area, Casey Oakes, 30. He is still missing.

It is unclear if there is any link between Mr Oakes and the families.

Police said the first body was found around 17:00 local time (21:00 GMT) in a marsh in Tsi Snaihne in Akwesasne, a Mohawk territory right between the US-Canada border.

The other bodies were discovered nearby. Their identities have not yet been released by police.

The dead were six adults and two children.

One child was under the age of three and had a Canadian passport. The other infant was also a Canadian citizen, a local police chief told reporters at a Friday news conference.

The bodies are believed to be from two families, one of Romanian descent and one of Indian descent, Lee-Ann O'Brien, deputy chief of Akwesasne Mohawk Police Service, told reporters.

"All are believed to have been attempting illegal entry into the US from Canada," Ms O'Brien said. She added that weather conditions were rough in the area on Wednesday night.

The bodies were found in the Quebec area of Akwesasne, a Mohawk community whose territory includes parts of Ontario, Quebec and New York State. It is located about 120km west of Montreal.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said: "This is a heartbreaking situation.

"We need to understand properly what happened, how it happened and do whatever we can to minimize the chances of this ever happening again."

Bodies of people attempting to cross into the US from Canada have been discovered at other locations in recent months.

In January, police in Canada found the bodies of four people, including an infant, in a snow field near Emerson, Manitoba, by the US-Canada border. The dead are believed to be a family from India, US officials said.

A Montreal man was also found dead near the US-Canada border in December. Fritznel Richard, 44, was trying to cross into the US to reunite with his wife and child.

US border agents have noted an uptick of people crossing back from Canada.

In January, US Border Patrol apprehended 367 people attempting to cross north to south - more than the number of such crossings in the last 12 years combined.

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