A second person has died after a smuggling boat capsized off the coast of Imperial Beach on Monday morning.
At around 2:30 a.m., a suspicious boat was seen off the coast of Imperial Beach which prompted the response of the U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and the Air and Marine Operations (AMO).
As officials made their way to the scene the boat capsized in the high surf. Border agents were the first at the scene and found seven people nearby the capsized boat along with two that needed immediate medical attention, CBP said.
Officials gave both individuals, who were in critical condition, CPR until medics arrived and took them to the nearest hospital, CBP confirmed.
A 62-year-old Mexican national was pronounced dead at the hospital. The second individual, a 44-year-old Mexican national was initially in critical condition and was pronounced dead on Tuesday.
Due to the man’s condition, the San Diego Sector Border Patrol’s International Liaison Unit (ILU) coordinated with the Mexican Consulate to have a family member by the man’s side.
“Maritime smuggling is extremely dangerous, and smugglers place an emphasis on the monetary gain over victim safety,” stated USBP’s San Diego Sector Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke. “I commend all those involved who did everything they could in an attempt to save these victims’ lives.”
Border Patrol arrested the remaining five people. The captain of the boat, 51, will remain in federal custody to face criminal charges, Border Patrol said.