Coast Guard Rescues 18 Migrants Stranded on Boat Adrift for 5 Days

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A San Diego Coast Guard crew rescued 18 migrants who were stranded on a motor boat for at least five days in the ocean off the coast of Baja California, according to USCG officials in San Diego.

The migrants were discovered at around 4 p.m. Wednesday by a passing boat about 16 miles offshore and the rescue operation kicked off shortly after, the USCG San Diego office said.

The rescued passengers were suffering from sun overexposure and lack of food and water, according to San Diego Fire-Rescue crews standing by at the USCG station. At least three were taken to hospitals in San Diego, according to SDFD officials.

Seven people, including a man, a 4-year-old boy, a 2-year-old girl and four women, were airlifted on a Coast Guard helicopter back to the USCG San Diego station on Harbor Drive. Eleven other men on the boat were rescued by the Mexican Navy.

USCG spokesperson Adam Stanton described sea conditions as brutal — rough seas and cold waves spilling over the edges of the boat. Rescuers were shocked the motorboat was even afloat considering it had a dead motor and was overloaded with passengers, Stanton said.

All of the passengers were wearing life vests and none were in the water at the time of their rescue, according to Stanton.

The Coast Guard was working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, according to officials at the San Diego station.

NBC 7 has reached out to the USCG and USCBP for additional information and is waiting for their response.

This story will be updated as more information is released.

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