At least three people are dead and dozens injured after a suspected human smuggling boat capsized and split into pieces off the coast of San Diego on Sunday, off Point Loma near Cabrillo National Monument. Conditions were pretty rough: 5 to 6 feet of surf, windy, cold.The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, local lifeguards, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Border Patrol and other agencies responded to reports of an overturned vessel near the peninsula of Point Loma Sunday morning. Nearly 100 first responders came to the scene, with eight fire engines, 10 medics, and various other officials. 27 people were rescued and taken to hospitals for treatment but three people did not survive. San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero said the “wide variety” of injuries range from hypothermia to wounds sustained in the boat crash. Authorities said the boat broke apart after colliding with a reef.
Officials said it had 30 people packed on board. Crews in boats and aircraft continued to search the area for several hours for other possible survivors. Authorities said they assume this was “illegal migration” but the ages and nationalities of those aboard the boat are currently unknown. The person believed to be operating the boat, a suspected smuggler, is in custody now. Smugglers typically face federal charges. Border Patrol often spots pangas off the San Diego coast, many of them crowded with about 20 passengers.