Three dead after boat capsizes off San Diego coast

03 Mai, 2021, 11:34 | Auteur: Christine Menetries
  • 01 Boat Capsizes San Diego 0502

Boats and aircraft were still searching around midday for other possible survivors in the water near the Cabrillo National Monument, SDFD said.

James Gartland, lifeguard chief for San Diego, told reporters it appeared the boat hit the reef, broke up and 30 people "came out of the vessel".

One person was rescued from a cliff and 22 others managed to make it to shore on their own, he added.

"Once we arrived on scene, the boat had basically been broken apart", Romero said.

At least three people are dead and 27 others have been rushed to hospital after a boat was ripped into pieces when it capsized. Most of the victims were able to walk themselves to ambulances, he said.

Authorities believe the 40-foot cabin cruiser was being used in a "suspected human smuggling operation", AP notes.

"Every indication from our perspective was this was a smuggling vessel".

Border Patrol agent Jeff Stephenson said the captain of the boat was in custody and speaking with investigators. Smugglers typically face federal charges and those being smuggled are usually deported.

Wreckage from a capsized boat washes ashore at Cabrillo National Monument near where a boat capsized off the San Diego coast Sunday.

The remains of the capsized vessel are seen near the shore

"It is very rocky over there, and the waves, while they weren't too high, they looked pretty strong" - enough to slam a boat into the rocks, he said.

Weather conditions, which caused the boat to break apart, also hindered the rescue efforts, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.

Authorities said they assume the journey was "illegal migration".

Among the rescuers who jumped into action was a good Samaritan: a Navy sailor who was in the area with his family, Romero said.

San Diego is about 15 miles from the U.S-Mexico border, said Campbell, and officials told CNN that smugglers frequently attempt to blend in with the shipping traffic along the coast there.

On Thursday, border officials intercepted a panga-type vessel travelling without navigation lights 11 miles off the coast of Point Loma with 21 people on board.

About 93 personnel from San Diego firefighters and lifeguards, federal firefighters, the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection responded to the incident and it wasn't immediately known if people were still stranded in the water. Among the group were two suspected smugglers, officials said.

Border Patrol on Friday said law enforcement officials would be ramping up operations to disrupt maritime smuggling off the coast of San Diego this weekend.

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