Three people are dead and 27 injured after a crowded boat broke apart and capsized in San Diego. On Sunday, the boat smashed into a reef located off of the shore of Point Loma.
Authorities are claiming that the boat was involved in a human smuggling operation. Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jeff Sephenson shared with the public that “from our perspective is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally”.
San Diego lifeguards first became aware of the situation around 10 a.m. when they were informed that a boat appeared to be drifting towards the shore. At the time of the report, officials were only made aware of one person onboard. But it soon became clear that the 40-foot ship actually contained 30 individuals.
By the time help arrived, the boat had already been significantly damaged. Though a number of the victims managed to make it to shore, others were caught in a rip current.
Through the combined efforts of lifeguards and good samaritans who rushed to provide assistance, 27 people were rescued from the water. The survivors were then taken to local hospitals for medical treatment.
The person believed to be the operator and smuggler of the group was among the survivors, though no further information regarding their identity had been released.
Border Patrol witnessed a 92% increase in maritime smuggling in the last year. With the continued increase in border protection, it is unlikely that these numbers will be lessening any time soon.