One migrant died and 13 others were rescued as they tried to swim from Mexico to the United States late Friday night, Border Patrol officials said Saturday.
A woman who died is believed to be part of a group of an estimated 70 people who tried to enter the United States illegally by swimming around the border barrier in the Pacific Ocean and getting to the beach at Border Field State Park in San Diego. U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Jackie Wasiluk.
The incident was reported shortly after noon. 23.30 and brought Border Patrol Agents, Coast Guard crews, San Diego firefighters and lifeguards and California State Park personnel to the shoreline.
Authorities tried to revive the woman, but she died on the spot.
The Coast Guard deployed a helicopter as part of the search and rescue effort, said Public Affairs Specialist 1st Class Adam Stanton.
“We grabbed 13 people out of the water and took them ashore, handing them over to the border patrol because it’s their jurisdiction to treat them and get them back where they need to be,” Stanton said.
Border patrol agents took 36 Mexican nationals – 25 men and 11 women – into custody, including the 13 rescued. All were taken to a nearby border patrol station for treatment. Officials did not say if there were any injuries.
Coast Guard personnel, firefighters and California State Parks workers continued to search the area in an effort to locate other people in need.
“This is another example of the ruthless tactics that smugglers’ organizations use to bolster their power and profits,” Aaron Heitke, chief patrol agent for the San Diego Border Patrol’s sector, said in a statement. “We will work tirelessly to prosecute and prosecute those responsible for this tragedy.”
The maritime route – especially by boat – has become more and more popular in the last few years among migrants trying to enter the United States as authorities have tightened border enforcement on land.
Contributing Writer Kristina Davis contributed to this report.