On Thursday, one person died and eight others were hospitalised after leaping from a small boat during what officials called a botched human smuggling attempt off the coast of California.
San Diego lifeguards responded to a call from Border Patrol about multiple people in distress off the coast of Point Loma in the neighborhood of La Jolla at around 5:30 a.m.
Upon arrival, Border Patrol saw multiple people in the water as lifeguards dispatched a boat and rescued 10 people from the ocean.
“The conditions out there today were rough, we had 4- to 6-foot surf and we had some heavy currents,” San Diego Fire Department Marine Safety Captain Maureen Hodges said.
After being evaluated, eight of the 10 people rescued from the water were taken to local hospitals.
The vessel came to shore in an area known as Wipeout Beach where first responders found someone submerged in water. Lifeguards brought the person onto land but lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.
Lifeguards said 15 to 18 people were believed to have been on the boat and some made landfall on their own.
Border Patrol took 15 people into custody, U.S. Border Patrol Agent Jacob Macisaac said at a news conference.
“All individuals were determined to be unlawfully present inside the United States and were transported to a border patrol station for processing,” Macisaac said.
The incident is the second in the region this week involving an apparent human smuggling operation, following the evacuation of 23 people from a boat off the coast of Point Loma on Monday.
Four people were killed and 23 were injured earlier this month when a boat that Border Patrol described as a “smuggling vessel” capsized near Sandiego.