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Tragic Helicopter Crash Claims Lives of Two Soldiers and a Veteran U.S. Border Patrol Agent

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A helicopter flying over the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas crashed Friday, March 11, in La Grulla, TX. Photos shared by Bill Melugin @BillMelugin_ /X
A helicopter flying over the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas crashed Friday, March 11, in La Grulla, TX. Photos shared by Bill Melugin @BillMelugin_ /X
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Texas Border Business

Border Patrol Agent Chris Luna. Photo Courtesy Chris Luna via Border Patrol sources

In a somber announcement on March 8, 2024, a devastating helicopter crash during a Southwest border support mission in partnership with the Department of Defense resulted in the tragic loss of two soldiers and a seasoned U.S. Border Patrol Agent, Christopher Luna, from the Rio Grande City Station. The accident also left another soldier with serious injuries, highlighting the inherent risks and dangers faced by those serving on the front lines of national security.

Agent Luna, who served for over 17 years in the U.S. Border Patrol, was remembered by colleagues and the broader community for his commitment and bravery. The Rio Grande Valley Sector is currently in mourning, reflecting on Luna’s sacrifices and commitment to protecting the nation’s borders. A thorough investigation into the cause of the tragic accident is underway, aiming to provide answers and prevent future incidents.

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A helicopter flying over the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas crashed Friday, March 11, in La Grulla, TX. Photos shared by Bill Melugin @BillMelugin_ /X

Gloria I. Chavez, the Chief Patrol Agent of the Rio Grande Border Patrol Sector, expressed her deep sorrow over the incident, emphasizing the valor and sacrifice demonstrated by Border Patrol Agents daily. “We mourn the loss of our brother Chris, and we will honor him with dedication and distinction,” Chavez stated, acknowledging the bravery exhibited by Luna and his colleagues in their attempts to save those involved in the crash.

Casey Frankoski, New York National Guard helicopter pilot. Photo Courtesy Mike Stammel, Mayor of the City of Rensselaer, New York

The President of the United States, Joe Biden, expressed condolences and highlighted the dedication of the fallen service members, acknowledging their willingness to face risks for the nation’s safety. “These brave Americans dedicated their lives to protecting our nation,” the President said, ensuring that the sacrifice of these individuals will not be forgotten and extending heartfelt sympathies to their families, colleagues, and all those affected by the tragedy.

Adding to the chorus of tributes, U.S. Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) released a heartfelt statement, mourning the loss of Border Patrol Agent Chris Luna and National Guardsmen Casey Frankoski and John Grassia. Congressman Cuellar praised their service and commitment, especially highlighting Luna’s 17-year tenure with the Border Patrol. “Our Border Patrol agents sacrifice so much to keep South Texas communities safe,” Cuellar remarked, recognizing the ultimate sacrifice made by Luna and his National Guard colleagues.

New York State Trooper John M. Grassia III. Photo Courtesy New York State Police

The community, colleagues, and the nation mourn the loss of these brave individuals who paid the ultimate price in the line of duty. Their dedication to ensuring the safety and security of the United States is an emotional reminder of the daily risks faced by military and border patrol personnel. As investigations continue, the focus remains on supporting the families of the deceased and the injured soldiers in their time of grief while also honoring the memory and service of those who have fallen.

Video recorded by mexican cartel near the accident.
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