SAN DIEGO — U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents interdicted three separate pangas transporting a total of 72 Mexican nationals, early Tuesday morning.
Late Monday night, AMO detected three pangas with their lights off carrying multiple persons. The pangas were traveling in the direction of the Maritime International Boundary Line toward the United States.
At approximately 2 a.m. two of the three pangas were interdicted at sea, while one made landfall on the rocky shoreline of Sunset Cliff in Point Loma.
Marine Interdiction Agents (MIA) and U.S. Border Patrol Agents responded to the Sunset Cliffs area where the third panga made landfall. Migrants fled from the panga and attempted to abscond from the scene.
At this time a MIA observed a female migrant still in the water where she was being crushed by the panga and struggling to stay afloat against the high tides. The agent immediately entered the ocean and swam to rescue the woman. As the agent swam to the rocky shore with the woman in tow, another agent climbed down the rocks to assist safely pulling the woman out of the water.
“Smugglers have no regard for the safety of their passengers,” said Director Air and Marine Operations, Brandon Tucker. “This situation could have been fatal for all onboard.”
EMS arrived at the scene and transported the woman and another injured migrant to a local hospital.
The remainder of the migrants were taken into custody by USBP to nearby Border Patrol stations to be processed.