May 9, 2021

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San Diego boat capsized: Captain of suspected smuggling ship in custody


The person thought to have been captain of the capsized vessel suspected of smuggling migrants off the coast of San Diego has been taken into custody.

Four people died and more than 20 were sent to hospital after the ship overturned on Sunday.

The 40-foot ship was carrying 29 people when it crashed into a reef and fell apart near the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma around 10:30am local time.

Out of the 25 survivors, one is in critical condition, according to a statement from the US Coast Guard.

Customs and Border Protection Supervisory Agent Jeff Stephenson said during a press conference on Sunday: “Every indication from our perspective is that this was a smuggling vessel to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally.”

While the name of the man suspected of being behind the smuggling operation has not been made public, Mr Stephenson said during the press conference that agents were with the suspect as Mr Stephenson was speaking to the press.

The deputy director of air operations for the San Diego Air and Marine Branch of Customs and Border Protection, Brandon Tucker, told reporters that the suspected caption of the alleged smuggling boat was “a bit out of it, but he is speaking to agents on scene”.

Mr Stephenson said the boat was “severely overcrowded” when it capsized. After several agencies responded to the call for aid, six people were rescued from the water while many others were able to swim to shore on their own.