Search Suspended After San Diego Smuggling Boat Wreck Leaves At Least 4 Dead

Authorities Monday suspended their search for survivors following the wreck of an overcrowded smuggling boat Sunday morning off San Diego’s coastline that left at least four dead and several more injured.

Video Transcript

- Well, tonight at 10:00, the number of dead has risen after a boat filled with migrants capsized near San Diego. And the Coast Guard has suspended the search for more survivors. A fourth victim died today at UC San Diego. At least three others were killed when that boat broke apart Sunday morning after slamming into a reef. Tonight for the first time, rescuers describe a scene of chaos in the water.

RICK ROMERO: Once we arrived on scene, the boat had been broken apart. A 40 foot cabin cruiser with multiple people on board.

- Emergency crews responded to a call for help off Point Loma around 10:00 AM Sunday. Initially, lifeguards thought there was only one person in danger, but they quickly realized about 30 people were in the cold choppy water.

RICK ROMERO: There are people in the water drowning, getting sucked out the rip current there. There is people on shore and reports where CPR in progress down below with multiple people injured.

- Cell phone video shows people jumping off a boat as it was breaking apart on the reef.

- The reality is crossing the border illegally is unsafe no matter the method, especially at sea.

- The boat's captain is in custody tonight and Border Patrol agents are interviewing survivors. This year, there's been a 90% hike in apprehensions of people trying to get in to the US by boat. Many migrants keep trying over and over again to claim asylum legally, but the border patrol is allowed to send them back to Mexico under the pandemic title 42.

PEDRO RIOS: The US government could restore the asylum process. They can remove the time for to order and prevent people from having to choose these dangerous routes.

- One thing we do know, the man charged with operating the boat will be prosecuted in America. Some of the surviving passengers will be able to stay in the US so they can testify against the suspected smuggler in court.