DEADLY BOAT EMERGENCY: Human-smuggling boat capsizes off San Diago shore with at least 4 people killed and more than 20 injured
Four people reportedly died and about 24 people hospitalized after a human-smuggling boat capsized off the San Diego coast on Sunday, police said.
The tragedy happened when a vessel, illegally smuggling the immigrants into the country hit the reef near the Point Loma peninsula and broke. The vessel, described as a 40-foot cabin cruiser shattered leaving only flotsam and jetsam floating on the water. The people started jumping from the boat into the water.
It’s still unclear how many people in all were on board as some of them are reported missing. Only 23 of them could make it to the shore on their own. The others were rescued. One person was rescued from a cliff.
@SDLifeguards and SDFD firefighters at Cabrillo Monument on the overturned vessel incident. 24 persons were on board. Many patients transported to hospitals. @USCG Fed Fire & many other agencies assisting. pic.twitter.com/jGbfnaRbJh— SDFD (@SDFD) May 2, 2021
“Once we arrived on scene, the boat had basically been broken apart,” San Diego lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero during a press briefing. “Conditions were pretty rough: 5 to 6 feet of surf, windy, cold.”
Some of the immigrants were rescued from the water by a Navy sailor who was at the scene with his family when the boat capsized. He jumped into the water and joined the rescue operation.
My office is monitoring the incident off the coast of Point Loma this morning and while we wait for an official update, my thoughts are with those impacted and the many emergency personnel responding to the scene. https://t.co/FTBqbzimJR— Council President Jennifer Campbell (@CMJenCampbell) May 2, 2021
“There were people in the water drowning, getting sucked out the rip current there, and there were people on shore,” Romero said.
At least three people were pronounced dead at the scene.
The search for other possible survivals was continuing on Sunday.
Ongoing rescue efforts related to a suspected maritime smuggling event. https://t.co/ka1uqH4kbu— Chief Patrol Agent Aaron M. Heitke (@USBPChiefSDC) May 2, 2021