SAN DIEGO (CBS) — It was a narrow escape for a group of immigrants who tried to enter the U.S. illegally from Mexico via an abandoned gas pipeline.
KNX 1070’s Tom Reopelle reports five Mexican nationals were back in their home country Thursday after the daring attempt.
After first entering a manhole in Tijuana, four men and one woman spent two hours crawling 100 yards through the defunct pipeline that was only 2.5 feet wide by 2.5 feet tall.
“It was so narrow they couldn’t back up, they just had to crawl north, kind of squirm through there,” said Border Patrol Agent Mike Jimenez.
At one point, the group had to figure out a way to keep from drowning while making their illicit voyage.
“There was water at one portion of the tunnel where they enetered where they said they could barely keep their heads above water to breathe,” said Jimenez.
Authorities eventually enlarged the opening, rescued all five people and returned them to Mexico.
One member of the group said they had paid as much as $5,000 to be smuggled into the U.S. through the pipeline, Jimenez said.