A family of four from Gujarat — a couple and their two adult children — is among the eight people who drowned in the St. Lawrence river on the Quebec-New York border when their boat capsized while they were attempting to illegally enter the United States from Canada.
The family was from the village of Manekpura in Mehsana district of north Gujarat. They appear to have reached Canada a few weeks ago on a tourist visa and were apparently trying to enter the United States illegally by undertaking the highly risky boat journey across the St. Lawrence river.
Sources said they are Pravin Chaudhary, a farmer, his wife Daksha, their son Mit, and daughter Vidhi.
Sources said a local agent engaged in human smuggling helped the family prepare for tourist visas to Canada followed by their illegal attempt to enter the U.S.
News of the heart-breaking incident reached Gujarat after the police in Canada recovered eight bodies from the river.
“We had spoken to them two weeks ago. They had gone to Canada for tourism,” Jashu Chaudhary, a distant cousin of Pravin Chaudhary, told media persons in Manekpura.
The incident is reminiscent of other attempts at illegal border crossings into the United States with tragic consequences. In January 2022, a family of four from Dingucha village in Gandhinagar district of north Gujarat froze to death while attempting to enter the U.S. on foot during a blizzard in central Canada. In May 2022, six men from north Gujarat, who travelled to Canada on student visas, were rescued after their boat capsized while they were attempting to cross the St. Regis river and enter New York. In December 2022, a man from Gandhinagar district died while trying to cross the ‘Trump Wall’ on the US-Mexico border in an attempt to enter the U.S. illegally.