- The boat was “being used in a suspected human smuggling operation,” according to The Associated Press.
Lifeguards, the U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies heard reports of the incident — which started as reports of passengers going overboard — and raced out to the peninsula of Point Loma, per The Associated Press.
- When they got there, they found that “it was going to be a bigger situation with more people,” said San Diego Lifeguard Services Lt. Rick Romero, according to The Associated Press.
- “There are people in the water, drowning, getting sucked out the rip current there,” he said.
- “Once we arrived on scene, the boat had basically been broken apart,” Romero said. “Conditions were pretty rough: 5 to 6 feet of surf, windy, cold.”
How did the boat crash?
According to KABC, weather conditions on the coast caused it to break apart, which made rescue efforts even harder for officials.
- The weather brought “seven-foot swells, low clouds and some rain,” per KABC.
In fact, divers couldn’t enter the water because of the poor weather conditions.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection will review the incident because it happened in federal waters, KABC reports.
Jeff Stephenson, a Border Patrol agent, said that the ship was a “smuggling vessel,” according to The Washington Post.
“(Smugglers) don’t care about the people they’re exploiting, all they care about is profit. To them, these people are just commodities,” Stephenson said, according to The Washington Post.