Two people were killed and 23 injured on Sunday when a suspected human smuggling boat overturned off Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma, a peninsula whose rugged beauty draws sightseers, San Diego Fire-Rescue said.
Reports of the overturned vessel with more than 20 people aboard alerted rescuers at about 10:30 am local time (1730 GMT). Soon people were pulled from the water, with San Diego firefighters and lifeguard working with U.S. Coast Guard and other agencies, San Diego officials said.
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Authorities reported “2 patients deceased at scene, 23 transported to local hospitals,” according to the emergency unit’s website.
A San Diego fire official said the boat was suspected of being used by smugglers to bring people illegally into the United States, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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No further information was immediately available.
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Cabrillo National Monument is a park with trails, tide pools and exhibits on California history, operated by the U.S. National Park Service. It is named after Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who stepped on shore in 1542 as the first European to arrive on what is now the West Coast of the United States, according to nps.gov.
(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; editing by Diane Craft)