Seventeen suspected illegal aliens aboard a panga boat sent a distress signal off the coast of San Diego on Tuesday morning that led the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to apprehend the group.
Video of the stranded boat was released, along with the Coast Guard’s announcement that the 17 aboard were taken to a local Border Patrol station for processing.
Crew aboard the 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter spotted a flare around 4:45 a.m. Tuesday morning off the coast of San Diego, according to the Coast Guard. Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center watchstanders also received a 911 call around 5:30 a.m. from one of the persons aboard the panga boat.
The Coast Guard release described the operation to find and rescue those aboard:
A Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk crew and CBP AMO UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew immediately launched to search and at approximately 6:50 a.m., the CBP AMO Blackhawk crew located the vessel approximately eight miles west of Pacific Beach, in San Diego.
At 8:15 a.m., the Sea Otter’s crew arrived on scene with the vessel and safely rescued 17 suspected illegal migrants from the disabled panga.
The group was picked up approximately eight miles off of San Diego’s Pacific Beach, and delivered to Shelter Island. From there, the Marine Task Force took the group into custody. The 17 were then transported to the Border Patrol office.
Last August, illegal aliens were caught at least twice trying to enter the United States off the coast of southern California. Also last August, a lawsuit was filed naming three CBP agents over the death of an illegal alien aboard a panga boat. The Mexican national perished as a boat of illegal aliens attempted to evade capture and capsized.
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