NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
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Accident involving maritime smuggling off San Diego results in eight deaths.
By Sea and Coast | 14/03/2023
One of the deadliest maritime migration tragedies in the region in recent years occurred over the weekend when two migrant smuggling boats capsized off the coast of San Diego, killing several people inside.
Late on Saturday night, a woman on a boat transporting migrants dialled San Diego's 911 centre to request assistance. She described a precarious circumstance involving two pangas north of La Jolla at Black's Beach, a popular surfing location. Her boat was secured when she got the call, but another boat had capsized and had 15 people on it.
At around 2330 hours, San Diego Fire-Rescue responders found two boats that had crashed within 150 yards of one another, along with eight bodies on the shore. No survivors were found, and late-night SAR operations were hampered by thick fog. The U.S. Coast Guard launched a search with a small boat, a cutter, and a SAR helicopter on Sunday morning but called it off that same day.
According to the San Diego office of the local Mexican consulate, seven of the eight dead have been authenticated as Mexican citizens. Unknown is the citizenship of the ninth individual.
The U.S. Border Patrol reports that Homeland Security Investigations at DHS is looking into the incident.
The Border Force and the Mexican embassy warned potential immigrants not to attempt to cross the border using gangs that sell individuals across borders after the event. Carlos González Gutiérrez, the general consul of Mexico in San Diego, warned that human traffickers will profit from migrants' need for illegal money by distorting reality, instilling them with excessive expectations, and placing them in dangerous situations where they would perish.
The amount of maritime smuggling between the United States and Mexico has surged recently. In addition to drug trafficking, immigration, and other criminal justice goals, the Coast Guard and Border Patrol documented roughly 670 "events" on waters off San Diego last year, or about two incidents every day.