Eight Dead After Suspected Smuggling Boats Overturn Near San Diego

At least eight people died after two boats capsized off the coast of San Diego, California, officials said on Sunday, March 13, in what they believed to have been a people smuggling operation.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Lifeguard Chief James Gartland said to reporters that a 911 call was made coming up to midnight on Saturday by a Spanish speaker, who reported that there were people in two vessels that had overturned near Torrey Pines City Beach.

Crews found two capsized boats when they arrived on the scene and recovered eight bodies, Gartland said. He said the nationalities of the victims were not known but he confirmed that all the victims were adults.

Gartland said the 911 caller said one boat contained approximately eight people and the other around 15 people, but officials had not confirmed these figures. Gartland said it was not known how many people survived.

Gartland said, “This is one of the worst smuggling tragedies that I can think of in California, certainly here in the city of San Diego.” Credit: San Diego Fire-Rescue Department via Storyful