Thursday, October 6, 2011

2 illegal immigrants die in San Diego-area maritime accidents

One is found dead inside a smuggling boat washed ashore at Pacific Beach and the other dies in an attempt to swim around a border fence.

Los Angeles Times
October 6, 2011
by Richard Marosi

Reporting from San Diego -- An illegal immigrant was found dead inside a smuggling boat that came ashore at San Diego's Pacific Beach and another died in a failed attempt to swim around a border fence in separate maritime incidents since Tuesday, according to federal authorities.

Early Wednesday morning, U.S. Border Patrol agents inspecting a 16-foot panga boat near Law Street at Pacific Beach discovered a dead Mexican man and another unidentified person. Following footprints along the beach, the agents found 13 additional illegal immigrants hiding in a residential area.

Eleven of the immigrants were hospitalized and released. One man suffering from dehydration and hypothermia remained in the hospital, according to Border Patrol spokesman Scott Simon.

The group of nine men and six women were all Mexican nationals, he said. Authorities are investigating whether a smuggler also was aboard the boat. The immigrant's cause of death has yet to be determined.

The skiff appeared to be caught in turbulent waters during the trip from Baja California. Smuggling groups often depart from as far away as Ensenada on journeys in rickety boats that can take 12 hours or more.

In another recent incident, seven immigrants were rescued a mile off San Diego's Mission Beach after their boat broke down Sunday.

Smugglers show no signs of letting up on their maritime trafficking attempts. Border authorities arrested 633 illegal immigrants in 183 maritime incidents during the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Illegal immigrants also continue trying on their own. On Tuesday night, a 43-year-old man died attempting to swim around a border fence that extends into the breakers at San Diego County's Border Field State Park.

He was not wearing a wet suit or flotation device, Simon said. Two other illegal immigrants who tried to swim around the border fence were arrested.

Over the last year, four people have died in maritime smuggling incidents, including two immigrants who died while their boat tried to land at Torrey Pines State Beach, north of San Diego.,0,7261822.story

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