(AP) — At least eight people were killed when two migrant smuggling boats approached a San Diego beach amid heavy fog and one capsized in the surf, and crews searched Sunday for additional victims, authorities said.
A Spanish-speaking woman on one of the panga-style boats called 911 late Saturday to report that the other vessel had overturned in waves off Black’s Beach, according to US Coast Guard Petty Officer Richard Brahm.
“The woman who called stated that the boat that overturned had 15 people on it, but that was just an estimate,” Brahm said.
Coast Guard and San Diego Fire-Rescue crews pulled the bodies of eight adults from the water, but thick fog hampered the search for additional victims.
San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Gartland said rescuers found the two boats overturned in shallow waters near the shore.
An estimated 23 people were on the two boats, he said.
No additional victims were found in the water and officials said some or all of the remaining passengers could have escaped via the beach about 15 miles north of downtown San Diego.
A Coast Guard cutter combed the area early Sunday and a helicopter crew joined the search after weather cleared at midmorning.