Six Indian citizens who tried to enter the United States illegally and did not know how to swim have been rescued from a sinking boat in northern New York, federal court documents state.
A seventh individual, a US citizen who made his own way to shore from the sinking boat, was charged with human smuggling and is being held pending trial.
The rescue happened on April 28 in Hogansburg, New York, near the Canadian border after an off-duty police officer from Cornwall, Ontario, spotted a boat containing multiple people crossing from Canada to the United States, federal court documents said.
Officers from the St Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department responded and saw the vessel sinking in the St Regis River about 30 metres from shore and about 245 metres from the international border with Canada.
While the numbers are low compared with the US border with Mexico, organised human smuggling between Canada and the United States is relatively common.
One of the Indian migrants apprehended in New York told Border Patrol agents he flew into Canada on April 21 before attempting to enter the United States by crossing the river.
The smuggler allegedly asked the migrants if they could swim.
All six individuals responded "no swim," the court documents said.
One of the migrants told agents in what is described as an "excited utterance": "I reached Canada, an agent let me on a boat, on a boat it sunk, we were going to die, police saved us."
Because the water temperature was just above freezing, all seven people were treated for hypothermia, officials said.
There were no life jackets or other safety equipment on the boat, they said.
The six migrants were citizens of India ranging from 19 to 21 years old, CPB said.
They were arrested and charged with improper entry.