Panga landing near Torrey Pines leads to cliff rescue, arrests

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A panga washed up on shore near Black’s Beach Wednesday morning.

Data pix.

SAN DIEGO -- A smuggling boat being chased by authorities came ashore near Torrey Pines Wednesday morning, and one of the occupants got stuck on a cliffside trying to escape.

A U.S. Coast Guard ship first started tracking the panga around 3:30 a.m., officials said.

Shortly before 6 a.m., the small fishing boat made a sharp turn toward Black's Beach, where an estimated seven people -- including two who were determined to be smugglers -- jumped out and ran.

One man tried to scramble up the cliff but got hurt and became stranded on the rocks. A San Diego Fire-Rescue helicopter was able to hoist the man to safety and take him to the hospital, where he was treated for minor injuries. After receiving a medical check, the six others in the group were taken into custody, authorities said.

All seven arrestees were later confirmed to be Mexican nationals who were in the U.S. illegally, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The seven individuals were taken to a Border Patrol station following their arrest for processing.

Pangas, small, flat-bottomed boats with outboard motors, are often used by smugglers to bring people or drugs into the U.S.

A night-vision video released this week by CBP officials showed another one of the boats land on a local beach, with a group of people hopping out and running ashore. Nine people -- six Chinese nationals and three Mexican nationals -- were apprehended in that case.

 

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