Search Launched for Mission Beach Panga Passengers

Law enforcement officers are looking for more than a dozen people believed to have come ashore in a panga that landed on Mission Beach Monday.

U.S. Border Patrol officials were on the sand right where West Mission Bay Drive ends and Ventura Place intersects with Strand Way.

The bright red panga was spotted about 6:45 a.m.

Lifeguards reported that about 20 people scattered. They believe there were 18 males and two females who ran into the neighborhood of Mission Beach.

Witnesses say about the group of people got out of the boat and ran towards shore, jumped the sea wall into the boardwalk and took off down an alley.

Phoenix resident Miranda Fuller said she could not believe what she was seeing from the balcony of her vacation home.

"I was in shock I think, and so were the couple people out here. They were just standing there pointing. Nobody knew what to do. What should we do to help," Fuller said.

Mission Beach resident Bill Wu caught the group on a surveillance camera mounted on his home. He recorded the group running up the beach and then across the boardwalk and into an alley.

"I guess there was somebody on the inside here that was supplying them with clothing and they went down to Mission Boulevard and changed clothes," Wu said.

A Phoenix resident staying near the beach while on vacation took images of the boat and its occupants from her balcony.

Border Patrol officials say they have taken multiple people in custody more than 14 blocks north near El Carmel Point.

In a statement late Monday, agents said they found 17 life preservers abandoned in the panga.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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