San Diego

1 Dead, Several Missing in Possible Human Smuggling Attempt

An investigation was underway Sunday into what officials believe was a human smuggling attempt off the coast of La Jolla that left one man dead and another hospitalized. 

San Diego Fire-Rescue (SDFD) Lifeguards and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) were called to Pacific Beach Point, near the Bird Rock neighborhood of La Jolla, at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday after a boat carrying seven people was spotted, CBP officer Takae Michael said.

Witness Phoenix Coberley could hear a man screaming out of her window and alerted lifeguards. 

"I went out on my little balcony and I could hear him screaming and moaning," Coberley said. "It was three or four minutes later and then the policemen came and then the ambulance came."

Lifeguards were able to pull the 32-year-old man out of the ocean and bring him back to shore. The man, later determined to be a Mexican national, told them there were still five other people in the ocean on boogie boards. 

Shortly after, Border Patrol officers discovered a body offshore, according to Michael.

CBP believes the boat and its driver returned to Mexico and the incident may have been a case of human smuggling. 

Investigators continued a search for four other individuals believed to be involved in the incident. Their whereabouts were unknown as of 11 a.m. Sunday.

The 32-year-old man was hospitalized with hypothermia and has since been released to CBP. 

Please refresh this page for updates on this developing story. Details may change as more information becomes available. 

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