U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested a group of suspected illegal immigrants on a Coronado beach today after a getting an apparently bogus boating distress call that may have been intended as a diversion,
Someone made an emergency call shortly after 5:30 a.m. to report that a vessel was taking on water and may have overturned near the Silver Strand, according to USBP officials.
Fifteen men and women believed to be undocumented immigrants were taken into custody north of Hotel Del Coronado a short time later, Border Patrol Agent Michael Jimenez told reporters.
The U.S. Coast Guard, meanwhile, sent out a boat and helicopter to search for any other members of the group who may have been in the ocean, USCG Petty Officer 2nd Class Henry Dunphy said.
By late morning, there were no reports of anyone being found in the water.
Border Patrol agents eventually found and seized the migrants’ fishing boat, which appeared to be undamaged, Jimenez said.
The spokesman told news crews that authorities believed someone involved in the smuggling attempt may have made the fake distress call in a failed bid to divert attention from the group’s landing on the beach.
Border Patrol agents detained some suspected illegal immigrants on the beach shortly after a smuggling boat capsized off Coronado early today, leaving the Coast Guard to search the ocean for other survivors,
The capsizing was reported near the Silver Strand at 5:38 a.m., according to Coronado police.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Henry Dunphy said his agency was notified by Coronado police that 17 people were believed to have been aboard the vessel when it capsized about a mile off the coast.
A number of suspected illegal immigrants were detained on the beach by Border Patrol but not all 17, Dunphy said.
As of 8 a.m., a Coast Guard helicopter and boat were still searching for survivors in the ocean. Dunphy described the water conditions as “favorable” to search and rescue efforts.
A possible smuggling boat capsized off the coast of Coronado early today, prompting authorities to search the waters for survivors.
The incident near the Silver Strand was reported at 5:38 a.m., according to Coronado police.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the Border Patrol were searching for people in the water and on the shoreline.