Four people were killed and dozens of others hospitalized after an overcrowded boat capsized and broke off the coast of San Diego, per a statement from the U.S. Coast Guard late Sunday.
Driving the news: Authorities believe the 40-foot cabin cruiser was being used in a “suspected human smuggling operation,” AP notes.
- “Twenty-nine people have reportedly been accounted for, consisting of twenty-four people alive, four people declared deceased by local emergency medical services personnel and one person who was last reported to be in critical condition,” per the Coast Guard statement.
- Authorities said earlier that 27 people were hospitalized following the capsizing.
The big picture: State parks workers found people in distress in the waters on Sunday morning. Lifeguards helped pull 25 people onto shore, said Jose Ysea, a spokesman with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
- The survivors were taken to local hospitals for “various degrees” of injury, including hypothermia.
- The Coast Guard said the search would continue into the night.
What they’re saying: Jeff Stephenson, a supervising agent with U.S. Border Patrol, said “every indication from our perspective was this was a smuggling vessel,” per AP.
- He said authorities had yet to confirm the nationality of those on board.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.