At least three people died and 27 have been hospitalized after a boat capsized on May 2 during a suspected human smuggling operation off the coast of San Diego, authorities said.
The 40-foot cabin cruiser “broke up” near the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma, west of downtown San Diego, Lieutenant Rick Romero of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said at a press conference.
“Once we arrived on scene, the boat had been basically broken apart… with multiple people on board,” Romero said.
According to a statement from SDFD, 30 people were injured from the incident and 27 have been transported to local hospitals.
“Every indication from our perspective says this was a smuggling vessel,” San Diego Sector Chief with Customs and Border Patrol Jeff Stephenson told reporters, adding that officials have not yet confirmed the nationalities of the passengers or where the boat had come from.
Officials also said that the operator of the vessel was in custody.
SDFD said on Twitter that federal agencies are still searching the water in vessels and aircraft.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is also assisting with the rescue, according to SDFD.
SDFD noted that they will not get any updates on the status of the patients due to privacy laws.