San Diego boat wreck kills 3, shows risks of ocean smuggling

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A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter flies over boats searching the area where a boat capsized just off the San Diego coast Sunday, May 2, 2021, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

SAN DIEGO – A tractor-trailer slams into an SUV at an intersection on a remote California desert highway, killing 13 of 25 people crammed inside the late model Ford Expedition.

A man dangles a toddler over a border wall near Santa Teresa, New Mexico, allowing her to fall on her face before he disappears into Mexico.

A 40-foot (12.2-meter) cabin cruiser overloaded with 32 people capsizes just off the San Diego coast, killing three and critically injuring another person. The others aboard survived, with one in critical condition.

The incidents, which occurred over the last two months, show how smugglers put migrants at extraordinary peril for profits, whether by car, on foot or at sea.

The Coast Guard on Monday ended its search for survivors of the San Diego boat wreck, which happened on a bright Sunday morning near tidepools of Cabrillo National Monument, a popular spot for tourists and hikers.

All but two people on the boat were Mexican citizens without legal status in the U.S. The others were a Guatemalan citizen without legal status in the U.S. and a U.S. citizen who was identified as the pilot, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Monday. Among the 28 in CBP custody were a 15-year-old boy traveling alone and 21 men and six women, ages 18 to 39.

Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary said Mexican passengers were being turned over to U.S. immigration authorities to be returned to Mexico.

The boat captain was in custody but Kelly Thornton, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in San Diego, declined to comment, saying prosecutors were “carefully reviewing the matter.”