At least three people died and 23 ended up hospitalized after a boat presumably used by human smugglers capsized.
At around 10.30 am on Sunday, the US Coast Guard responded to a report of an overturned vessel that was spotted near Point Loma just off the coast of San Diego.
According to the reports, the authorities rescued some two-dozen people whereas at least 23 were rushed to the hospital and two were pronounced dead on the scene.
As it is believed, the capsized low-slung panga, a type of vessel often used in smuggling, was used by smugglers to help immigrants cross the border and enter the States illegally.
Following the alleged maritime smuggling attempt, the authorities have launched a search mission in an attempt to find other potential survivors.
Meanwhile, federal agencies will be responsible for handling an investigation into the event because the ship capsized in federal waters.
The incident comes shortly after the Customs and Border Protection revealed they would be strengthening their presence in the waters off the San Diego coast to counter human smuggling attempts.
“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of maritime smuggling attempts recently,” Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke admitted.
“All of these illegal crossings at sea are inherently dangerous, and we have seen too many turn from risky to tragic as smugglers sacrifice the safety of those on board for the sake of profits.”
According to CBP, the service recorded record-high 309 smuggling attempts by sea during the 2020 fiscal year. As for the current fiscal year, the CBP has already reported 157 maritime smuggling events.
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