A tragic boat crash off the coast of San Diego, California has killed at least four people and dozens more are injured. While enroute to San Diego, the 40-foot cabin cruiser struck a reef and broke apart sending dozens of people into the water. Officials believe the boat was being used to smuggle immigrants into the U.S.
At around 10 a.m. Sunday, Lifeguards were alerted to a boat crash. A San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lifeguard Lieutenant was the first to respond and call for additional help. At the time, the surf was five-to-six feet, and water temperatures were around 60-degrees. Several people drowned before they could be rescued.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the boat was severely overcrowded. There were around 30 people crowded on the small craft. When authorities got to the scene, several people could be seen in the water waving amongst the debris. Authorities said that many people were stuck in dangerous rip currents, which made rescue difficult.
Lifeguards made seven water rescues, and rescued one person from a Cliffside. Many others were washed up along the beach with the debris from the boat. Around two dozen people were taken to area hospitals with varying degrees of injuries.
Captain in Custody
Officials have the boat captain in custody. They believe that the boat was being used to illegally bring people into the U.S. This dangerous practice is one that boat captains exploit for profit. Captains that smuggle people into the U.S. do not provide adequate safety gear, life jackets or floatation devices. Their boats are also often older and not properly maintained.
This particular boat’s origin is unknown, and the nationality of the victims has not been disclosed. Officials do know that similar smuggling attempts have been made in the area, with passengers coming from Rosarita or the Baja Coast.
Officials say this is one of the biggest and most tragic boat incidents that has happened in the San Diego area. Truly a tragedy.
Incident Highlights Dangers of Boat Crashes
Incidents like this boat crash highlight the dangers of any sort of boat crash. It especially highlights the dangers of crashes involving vessels with too many people, as well as those lacking proper safety gear. Two of the most significant dangers in these situations are:
- Drowning: Any time a boat crashes, capsizes or sinks, there is a risk of those onboard drowning. That is exactly what happened in San Diego. Passengers were swept away by rip currents and high surf.
- Hypothermia: Hypothermia is another concern during a boat crash. Water doesn’t need to be freezing in order for hypothermia to set in. In fact, all that needs to happen is for the body temperature to drop below 95-degrees.
In addition to these, passengers in a boat crash can experience a variety of traumatic injuries if they are hit by debris or are caught up in rocks, reef or shoreline.
Injured in a Boat Crash?
There are many things that can cause a boat crash, including negligence. Captains may not operate the vessel properly, or may not provide adequate safety gear. Also, the vessel may not be properly maintained, which can cause problems on the water.
If you have been injured in a boat crash caused by negligence, contact a maritime injury lawyer. You may have the right to pursue compensation for your injuries and any related expenses, such as medical expenses. To learn more, call us at 866-871-8422, or complete our online contact form.