8 dead, 7 missing after boat capsized off San Diego coast

SAN DIEGO – At least eight people were killed when two suspected smuggling boats approached a San Diego beach and one capsized, and crews are searching for an estimated seven other victims on Sunday, authorities said.

A woman on one of the panga-style boats called 911 late Saturday to report that the other vessel had overturned in waves off Blacks Beach, according to US Coast Guard Corporal Richard Brahm.

“The woman who called said there were 15 people on the overturned boat, but that was just an estimate,” Brahm said.

The San Diego Coast Guard and Fire Department pulled eight bodies from the water, but thick fog made finding more victims difficult. A Coast Guard cutter combed the area early Sunday, and officials are hoping to get helicopters airborne when the weather improves, Brahm said.

Daniel Eddy, deputy chief of operations for the San Diego Fire-Rescue, said there was a long debris field at Black’s Beach. Black’s Beach is jointly owned by the City of San Diego and the State. The sandy beach is also known as Torrey Pines City Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach.

Coast Guard Corporal Eddie Berrios confirmed eight people died and teams were searching for at least seven others. He didn’t know what kind of boats they were, but said pangas – small open boats with outboard motors used in smuggling operations – often come ashore there.

Brahm did not know if anyone on the second boat was injured or if they were arrested by border police.

It was unclear if any arrests were made and the nationalities of the passengers were unknown. Illegal border crossings have surged under President Joe Biden, with many migrants surrendering to border guards and being released into the United States to pursue their cases in an immigration court.

A pandemic rule, due to end on May 11, denies migrants the ability to seek asylum to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but enforcement has fallen disproportionately on Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans and El Salvadorans as they are the only ones were nationalities that Mexico has agreed to withdraw. As a result, people in these four countries were more likely to try to evade capture, knowing they would likely be expelled under the public health rule known as the Title 42 Authority. Mexico recently began taking back Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans under Title 42.


Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed from Los Angeles.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/national/2023/03/12/8-dead-7-missing-after-boat-capsizes-off-san-diego-coast/ 8 dead, 7 missing after boat capsized off San Diego coast

Sarah Y. Kim

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