Coast Guard In San Diego Suspends Search For Victims Of Sunday’s Boat Accident Tied To Apparent Smuggling Operation

CBS4's Nichelle Medina shares the details.

Video Transcript

- Now at [? 5:00, ?] the Coast Guard in San Diego, California suspends its search for the victims of Sunday's boat accident. Investigators believe the boat was packed with migrants when it ran aground.

- At least three people died and several others are hurt. Officials suspect the passengers were attempting to enter the United States illegally.

- CBS 4's Nichelle Medina has the latest from San Diego.

NICHELLE MEDINA: Border patrol officials believe the boat that ran aground near San Diego Sunday was being used for human smuggling.

JEFF STEPHENSON: Every indication from our perspective is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally. We haven't confirmed the nationality of the people involved.

NICHELLE MEDINA: The 40-foot wooden cabin cruiser ran aground around 10:30 Sunday morning. A bystander shot this video. It shows people jumping off the vessel before it broke apart on the reef.

- People are really risking their lives to come into this country. And we just wanted to advocate that that shouldn't be happening.

- Just last week the border patrol announced it would be ramping up operations off the San Diego coast to stop Maritime human smuggling.

NICHELLE MEDINA: The boat's captain is in custody. Border patrol agents are interviewing survivors. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas appeared on CBS this morning.

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS: It is a powerful and unfortunately tragic example of the manner in which human smugglers exploit vulnerable individuals. One should not take the dangerous journey.

NICHELLE MEDINA: Apprehensions of those illegally crossing the border by sea increased more than 90% in 2020. And officials say, they're seeing a similar increase this year-- Nichelle Medina, "CBS News," San Diego.

- While officials believe everyone on board has been accounted for, smugglers typically face federal charges. And those being smuggled are usually deported back to the countries.