SAN DIEGO – One person was killed and eight were injured Thursday in an apparent attempt to smuggle migrants off the Tony La Jolla coast of San Diego, authorities said.
Rescuers rescued 10 people in what the San Diego Fire Department called “rough waters,” eight of whom were hospitalized. Some of the migrants were wearing life jackets.
One person found underwater was pronounced dead on the beach. In a statement, firefighters said they did not know how many people were on the boat.
Rescuers were alerted that people were in the water around 5:30 a.m., minutes before sunrise. The boat was in the waters just off Wipeout Beach, off the coast of homes, shops, and in an area that is popular with surfers, swimmers, walkers, and runners.
Firefighters said the survivors had been turned over to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Earlier this month, an overloaded 32-person pleasure yacht capsized off the coast of San Diego, killing three people in a smuggling attempt.
Smuggling off the California coast has seen ebbs and flows over the years, but has long been a risky alternative for migrants to avoid heavily guarded land borders.
Small single-engine or twin-engine boats known as “pangas” enter Mexico at night, sometimes heading hundreds of kilometers north. Pleasure craft, like the one that capsized earlier this month, attempt to mingle unnoticed with fishing and pleasure craft during the day.