A BOAT suspected to be involved in a human smuggling operation overturn in the water off San Diego on Sunday, May 2.
The vessel capsized off Point Loma near Cabrillo National Monument the morning of May 2.
How many people died in the San Diego boat accident?
At least four people died, 27 were hospitalized and one person remained in critical condition after the boat overturned in the water off San Diego.
The San Diego Fire Department pulled 27 people from the water with five needing CPR, ABC7 reported.
In a press conference on May 2, San Diego Lifeguard Lt. Rick Romero confirmed that 30 people in total were on board the boat.
Many were able to walk to shore but seven were sucked into the rip current.
“There were people in the water drowning, getting sucked out the rip current there, and there was people on shore,” Romero said.
“We picked up about seven people in the water, two of them were faced down and drowned… The numbers kept on increasing.”
Why did authorities say the boat was being used for?
Jeff Stephenson, Supervisor United States Border Patrol Agent, told NBC that every indication points to the boat being a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the US illegally.
"The man who we believe was the operator, agents are with him, and is the suspected smuggler, but the investigation is still unfolding,” Stephenson said.
“We were putting more resources out in the water to interdict vessels like this and we announced it in advance to try to deter as much as we could to try and send a message to smugglers."
Stephenson added that the boat was "severely overcrowded."
Was the boat operator arrested?
The person believed to have been operating the suspected human smuggling vessel is in custody.
The suspected captain of the vessel's name has not been released.
Brandon Tucker, CBP deputy director of air operations for the San Diego Air and Marine Branch, said the captain of the suspected smuggling boat was "a bit out of it," however, he was speaking to agents on the scene.
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