Eight dead and seven missing in San Diego shipwreck
According to local authorities, there is a suspicion that the ships were used for illegal immigration.
At least eight people are dead and seven others are missing after two boats capsized off a beach in San Diego, California, late Saturday night at 11 p.m.
According to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Bram, a woman who was in one of the panga-style boats, small open boats with outboard motors, called emergency services to report that the boat had capsized near Blacks Beach. “The witness who called claimed that there were 15 people on the overturned boat, but this is just an estimate,” Bram said.
Crews from the Coast Guard and the San Diego Fire Department recovered eight bodies from the water. However, the thick fog made it difficult to rescue more victims. The search continued this Sunday, the 12th, and authorities were waiting for the weather to improve so they could have helicopter support.
Rescuers found “lifeless bodies and two overturned pangas scattered over an area of about 400 meters,” fire department spokeswoman Monica Munoz said. “Several life jackets and fuel drums were also found.”
“A lot of times those boats are overcrowded, the service is poor,” says James W. He also stated that the bad weather and low visibility “would have made it extremely difficult for anyone to operate in those conditions”. “They were probably one of the few sailors at sea.”
San Diego Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Eddy said there was a long line of debris on the beach. The stretch of sand is also known as Torrey Pines City Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach – the City of San Diego and the State of California share management of the area.
Coast Guard Petty Officer Eddie Berrios confirmed that eight people had died and that crews were searching for at least seven more. He did not know what kind of boats they were, but said that pangas used by illegal immigrants often go down on that beach. There is no information about the arrests and the nationalities of the passengers on board.
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