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Attempt to identify family that froze to death on US-Canada border

New Delhi, January 22

Teams of Indian diplomats from both the US and Canada are now in the border area between the two countries where an apparent Indian family of four, including an infant, froze to death while trying to cross the border in a blizzard.

Further efforts are underway to identify them and confirm their nationalities, said sources here, adding that the post-mortem is likely to be carried out on January 24.

An Indian consular team from Toronto is in Manitoba to work with the Canadian authorities to investigate “these disturbing events”, India’s High Commissioner to Canada Ajay Bisaria said.

The team in Manitoba is now liaising with local authorities to render any consular help regarding the four dead people. Canada’s High Commissioner-designate to India Cameron MacKay called for bringing human smugglers to justice stating that “Canadians are shocked by the tragedy”.

US authorities have detained seven people without proper documentation, as well as one US citizen, for allegedly being involved in human smuggling activity.

On the US side, India’s Consulate in Chicago has sent a team to Minneapolis, which has sought consular access to the seven detained persons of apparent Indian descent. Indian missions in the US are also in touch with US Justice Department and the Border Police, said the sources.

Giving a sequence of events, sources said on January 19, US authorities in Minnesota State, near the border with Canada, came across a group of people, apparently without proper documentation. Based on information about some persons left behind, Canadian authorities launched a search and found four bodies on their side of the border.

These four (a man, a woman, a teenage boy, an infant) appeared to have died due to the cold.

The people without proper documentation on the US side, as well as the dead people on the Canadian side, appear to be Indian nationals, said the sources.

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