At total of at least eight people suspected to be illegal immigrants dies this past Saturday evening in the wake of two panga boats reportedly capsized and sank along the coast of Black’s Beach in San Diego, California, explained a report from local authorities.
Lifeguards with the San Diego Fire Department explained to NBC that one woman notified 911 just prior to midnight this past Saturday evening, stating that a panga boat which seemed to have eight to 10 people on board had capsized. Tiny fishing boats are most often utilized for smuggling operations.
Sarah Foster, an officer with the San Diego Police Force, explained to The Los Angeles Times that the woman who made the call traveled on the other boat, but when rescue crews arrives, they discovered that both of the boats had capsized and found absolutely no survivors. Officials estimated that a total of 23 people had been on the two boats and claimed that the rest of the passengers most likely ended up escaping.
Because of the high tide and high levels of fog, authorities struggled to get access to the shore area. After climbing north on the coast, lifeguard teams discovered both the overturned boats and the deceased bodied. Crews were still looking for what they estimated to be seven other victims, authorities expressed this past Sunday.
San Diego Fire-Rescue’s Deputy Chief of Operations Daniel Eddy explained to OnScene TV that authorities could not allow any helicopters to go up.
“We had boats in the water, but at first light, once all the conditions clear, we will have Coast Guard out here and San Diego Fire-Rescue and lifeguards doing a joint search through the water for any possible victims that are left,” stated Eddy.
“We tried to launch helicopters both from San Diego Fire and Coast Guard but due to the conditions, they couldn’t get up,” expressed Eddy. “Coast Guard finally got up with their copter but due to the conditions of the fog in the area it was hard for their [forward-looking thermal imaging cameras] to get through to see anything in the water.”
Authorities with the U.S. Border Patrol explained to the Times that they had no additional information about the incident or if there had been anyone detained by area law enforcement.
“This is one of the worst maritime tragedies that I can think of in California, and certainly here in San Diego.” stated San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Gartland as part of a press conference this past Sunday.
Coast Guard Capt. James Spitler explained to the local media as part of a morning news conference that since 2017, the Southern California coastal region has recorded an increase in human trafficking of close to 771%.