A boat sinks off the coast of San Diego, killing 8 people and leaving 7 others missing.
A boat sinks off the coast of San Diego, killing 8 people and leaving 7 others missing.

SAN DIEGO, California — At least eight people died when two boats thought to be smuggling drugs came close to a beach in San Diego and one capsized. On Sunday, crews were searching for an estimated seven more victims.

According to U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm, a woman on one of the panga-style boats called 911 late Saturday night to say that the other boat had capsized in waves off Blacks Beach.

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

© Images AGN
© Images AGN

Coast Guard and San Diego Fire-Rescue crews pulled eight bodies from the water, but thick fog hampered the search for additional victims. Early on Sunday, a Coast Guard boat searched the area, and Brahm said that officials hoped to send helicopters up when the weather got better.

Daniel Eddy, San Diego Fire-Rescue’s deputy chief of operations, said there was a long debris field on Black’s Beach. The state and the city of San Diego own Black’s Beach together. Torrey Pines City Beach and Torrey Pines State Beach are both names for this strip of sand.

Eddie Berrios, a Coast Guard Petty Officer, said that eight people had died and that teams were looking for at least seven more. He didn’t know what kind of boats they were, but he said that pangas, which are small, open boats with outboard engines that are often used to smuggle drugs, often wash up there.

Brahm didn’t know if anyone on the second boat was injured or whether they were apprehended by Border Patrol.

It was unclear if any arrests were made and the nationalities of the passengers was unknown. Under President Joe Biden, the number of illegal crossings has gone up, and many migrants have turned themselves in to Border Patrol agents and been let back into the U.S. to go to immigration court.

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