At Least 8 People Are Dead After 2 Boats Capsized Off The San Diego Shoreline
At least eight people were found dead after authorities discovered two capsized boats near Black's Beach in San Diego on Saturday, according to local fire officials.
Around 11:30 p.m. local time, authorities received a 911 call that a boat had overturned and that victims were in the water near Torrey Pines. The call was made by a Spanish-speaking woman who was on a separate boat with eight people that had already reached the shore, according to San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Gartland.
"This is one of the worst maritime smuggling tragedies that I can think of," Gartland said at a press conference on Sunday.
Initial search attempts were hampered by the high tide and weather conditions on Saturday evening. After six hours of search and recovery efforts, authorities said they found in total eight deceased bodies and two small overturned fishing boats known as pangas, Mónica Muñoz, a spokeswoman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, told NPR. Officials also found several life jackets and fuel barrels, Muñoz said.
No survivors were encountered during the search and all of the victims were turned over to San Diego County Medical Examiner, she added. Searches were continuing on Sunday for at least two other people who remain missing.
Details on the nationalities, ages and genders of the boats' passengers have not been released except that all the victims appeared to be adults.
Officials also did not have any information on what may have caused the boats to capsize, but Gartland noted that the area where the boats were found is generally hazardous — even in the daytime.
"You could land in some sand or get to waist-high, knee-high water and think that you're safe and be able to exit the water, but there's long inshore holes," he said. "So, if you step into those holes, those rip currents will pull you along the shore and back out the sea."
Along with local firefighters and lifeguards, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Coast Guard assisted in the rescue and recovery efforts.
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