Lifeguards alerted San Diego police to the fishing boat off Ventura Place near Ocean Front Walk at around 6:40 a.m., San Diego police Officer Humberto Hernandez said. The large, red open boat had “Sirena” painted on the bow, which is Spanish for mermaid.
According to lifeguards, the panga was carrying about 21 suspected illegal immigrants from Mexico. The group ran for the shore before turning left and quietly making their way past Bill Wu’s beachfront vacation rental.
“I saw a boat fly up on the beach” said Wu. “Twenty-one Hispanics dressed in black jumped out and ran down the alley way – soaking wet.”
Surveillance cameras captured the group walking down an alley just off the beach.
“I saw people jump out of the boat and they were all in black and you couldn’t tell who they were or what they were,” said a beachgoer. “It was like something in a movie they just all jumped out and ran.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents took two people into custody, but most of the other men and a couple women were gone.
This was the second time in the last two months a panga washed ashore in the area.