Mexican migrants rescued after panga boat ‘dump-and-run’ off Del Mar, authorities say


More than a dozen people have been located after apparently being dumped from a panga boat before dawn Friday off the coast of Del Mar, authorities said.

Emergency responders were called to the scene about 4:30 a.m. after passersby “heard people yelling for help in the water,” San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Bodine said.

Del Mar Fire Chief Mike Stein told reporters at the scene that 11 people were rescued from the water and taken to a hospital to be treated for minor hypothermia.


Two others who had been on the boat were found later on land, Beth Murray, a senior management analyst for the city of Del Mar, said.

Rescue crews are still searching for one to three others believed to have been aboard, she said.

All the people on the boat are thought to be Mexican migrants, officials said.

Stein said the incident could be “a dump-and-run, where the panga doesn’t actually make it to shore, they’ll have people swim off the coast and then they head back south.”

“We’ve had a lot of panga boats that have reached our shores here in Southern California, specifically this area of the coast,” he said.

Authorities from the U.S. Coast Guard and Border Patrol are still searching for the boat.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at (760) 940-4300.