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Stuck in mud and then arrested

March 06 2012
Being rescued was just the start of his problems...


The Rio Grande river in New Mexico, US, is an icon of old cowboy films and stories of the American West. Recently it also became the site of an unlikely rescue operation, after a homeless man was found stranded in thick mud.

The man was discovered by a group of high school students on a school biology trip, after he had spent three days stuck on a bank by the side of the river. The students were visiting a wetlands centre when they heard his shouting and alerted the authorities.

Local fire crews arrived to find “a male subject stuck on a reed island about a hundred yards from the west bank of the river,” their report said. He was in so deep that they had to deploy a specialist propeller-driven boat and pulley system to haul him out.

His freedom didn’t last long however. After his rescue, police identified the man as Clayton Senn, a wanted criminal who had been living near the river. Police had a warrant for Senn’s arrest on suspicion of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and said he would be arrested as soon as he left hospital.

The Rio Grande is one of America’s most famous natural landmarks, and forms part of the boundary between the US and Mexico. Travelling through hundreds of miles of desert and sediment, it is no longer navigable by boat, and is often blocked by thousands of tonnes of sand and mud.