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Panga boat with 23 people on board spotted off Point Loma

Posted at 6:39 AM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 11:39:46-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- The discovery of a panga boat off the coast of Point Loma early Monday morning prompted a large law enforcement response.

Border Patrol officials said an agent spotted the boat with over 20 people on board in the waters off Osprey Street and Sunset Cliffs Boulevard just before 3 a.m.

According to Border Patrol officials, a U.S. Coast Guard boat made contact with the vessel and told it to stop, but the panga boat continued towards the shore before it became stuck in the surfline.

San Diego Lifeguards and San Diego Harbor Police were called to assist due to the possibility the boat would capsize.

Responding Coast Guard personnel were able to pull the panga boat from the surfline and towed it to San Diego Lifeguard headquarters.

The boat occupants -- 20 men and three women -- were questioned by Border Patrol agents, and it was determined the occupants were “all illegally present in the U.S.,” according to Border Patrol officials.

Officials said the boat was seized and the 23 people were being processed by Customs and Border Protection.

The report comes two weeks after a suspected smuggling boat carrying 30 people capsized off Point Loma, killing three people and leading to the arrest of the boat’s captain.