Coast Guard suspends search for victims of smuggling boat crash off Point Loma

Debris is littered along the shoreline off Cabrillo Monument on Sunday in San Diego. Two people died and 20 were rescued after a vessel overturned on Sunday afternoon off Point Loma area of San Diego. Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images/TNS

SAN DIEGO — A day after a boat crashed off the coast of San Diego at Point Loma, killing three people and injuring 29 others in a suspected human smuggling attempt, the Coast Guard suspended its search for other possible victims.

The Coast Guard Cutter Haddock crew had searched overnight.

“After careful consideration using the information from our on-scene crews, partner agency input and the magnitude of the response efforts, the Coast Guard suspended our search on Monday morning,” Captain Timothy Barelli said in a statement.

“Yesterday, we were once again reminded how dangerous these ocean smuggling attempts can be and we will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to prevent, detect and respond to cases like this to keep the waters of San Diego safe and secure.”

The 40-foot trawler-style boat crashed into a reef in rough water near the Cabrillo National Monument Sunday morning, then broke apart. Some passengers made it to shore while others were caught in a rip current.

Lifeguards on rescue boats and personal watercraft pulled seven people from the water, including at least two of whom drowned, San Diego lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero said. Lifeguards also hoisted one person up a cliff.

While the number of fatalities and survivors was unclear Sunday, authorities said Monday that three people died and 29 survived. Their ages, genders and nationalities were expected to be released later in the day.

At least five people remained hospitalized, including one in critical condition, authorities said.

The investigation into the incident was ongoing.

“Every indication from our perspective is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally,” Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jeffery Stephenson said Sunday.

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