ENCINITAS, Calif. — Eight people were taken to the hospital early Thursday after a panga capsized off the coast of Encinitas in a reported maritime smuggling attempt.
U.S. Border Patrol said its agents first spotted the small boat at 5 a.m. as it was heading toward the shoreline. Agents responded to Moonlight Beach and West D Street, where they found it overturned along the beach.
An Encinitas Fire Department battalion chief said first responders found eight people in the area. Members of the group were suffering from hypothermia and taken to local hospitals, fire officials said.
First responders found 18 life jackets in the boat, which led them to believe 18 people were on the panga. Authorities were continuing to search the Moonlight Beach area for anyone else who may have come to shore.
Border Patrol called the incident a maritime smuggling attempt. The agency said 1,327 migrants have been intercepted off the California coastline fiscal year to date. That exceeds the 1,273 total migrants who were apprehended all of last year, USBP said.