Close to 20 undocumented immigrants were discovered in a boat in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego Tuesday.
A red flare was spotted at 4:45 a.m. by a U.S. Coast Guard cutter while on patrol west of Point Loma.
Less than an hour later, a man called 911 from a disabled panga reporting that he had fired the red flare.
A Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations helicopter located a boat carrying 17 people approximately 8 miles west of Pacific Beach.
The passengers, described by officials as undocumented immigrants, were rescued by a Coast Guard vessel at 8:15 a.m.
The ship brought the passengers to Shelter Island where they were taken into custody by federal officials.