One Dead And Eight Hospitalized After Reported Smuggling Attempt Off California Coast

Kaylee Greenlee

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One person died and eight others were injured in a suspected smuggling attempt off the coast of San Diego, California, officials said Thursday morning.

Border officials attempted to intercept a panga-style boat carrying at least 15 people near La Jolla, California, KUSI News reported. Agents notified San Diego Fire-Rescue lifeguards of several people who were previously seen on the boat in distress in the water.

Lifeguards rescued 10 people from “rough water conditions” and some of them had life vests, San Diego Fire-Rescue spokeswoman Mónica Muñoz told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The boat continued up the coastline before crashing near Wipeout Beach where lifeguards administered CPR to one person who was found in the water and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Muñoz.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials apprehended a total of 15 illegal migrants who were taken into custody for processing, Border Patrol agent Jacob Macisaac said in a statement. It’s unclear how many illegal migrants were on the boat or if any evaded apprehension.

“My message for anyone that’s considering making the journey would be not to put your life in the hands of smugglers, you know this is something that we’ve been seeing pretty frequently,” Macisaac said in a statement.

“A lot of times these vessels are not seafaring vessels, they’re grossly overladen, packed with gas cans, packed full of people with inadequate or lacking safety devices and a lot of times if you’re far enough out shore there’s no way to even call for help,” Macisaac said in a statement. He added that officials have found boats dead in the water and conducted rescues of stranded migrants.

Last fiscal year over 1,200 migrants were apprehended in maritime smuggling attempts and officials have encountered around 1,100 attempts so far this year, according to Macisaac.

CBP did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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