A boat carrying a large group of suspected illegal aliens crashed Sunday off the coast of San Diego, leaving at least 3 dead and landing more than a dozen more in the hospital.
Reports state the boat, which authorities believe was part of a human smuggling operation, was carrying about 30 people when it hit a reef and busted apart, spilling all the people out into the choppy, 60-degree waves near Point Loma. Six people had to be fished out of the water after being pulled out by a rip tide. Three died, while the rest made it to shore with help from local rescue crews.
Customs and Border Patrol says the best they can tell, the group was being smuggled into the U.S. illegally in the 40-foot cabin vessel.
"Every indication, from our perspective, is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally," said Jeff Stephenson, supervisor and border patrol agent in CBP’s San Diego sector.
The boat driver has reportedly been arrested.
CBB reports that according to CBP, immigration officials are reporting increasing numbers of boat-based human smuggling attempts in San Diego, which sits just across the border from Tijuana.
"We've seen a dramatic increase in the number of maritime smuggling attempts recently," said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke. "All of these illegal crossings at sea are inherently dangerous, and we have seen too many turn from risky to tragic as smugglers sacrifice the safety of those on board for the sake of profits."
Just a few days prior, CBP apprehended another 21 illegal aliens, including two accused traffickers and 19 passengers, who’d come ashore in a small wooden boat near Point Loma as part of another human smuggling operation.
This most recent tragedy comes as the number of illegal aliens streaming across the border illegally continues to surge past record levels. More than 1 million illegal aliens, including some 184,000 unaccompanied children and teens, are expected to cross the borer unlawfully this year alone – a total that, if reached, would mark a 20-year high.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has so far refused to label the border surge a “crisis,” even as it opens more than a dozen overflow facilities to temporarily house unaccompanied teens to the tune of about $60 million per week.