April 12, 2016 (USCG) – The Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, Air and Marine Operations, rescued 17 suspected illegal migrants from a disabled panga approximately eight miles west of Pacific Beach, in San Diego, Tuesday.
At approximately 4:45 a.m. Tuesday, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Sea Otter observed a red flare while on patrol west of Point Loma, and diverted to investigate.
At approximately 5:30 a.m. Tuesday, the Coast Guard Sector San Diego Joint Harbor Operations Center watchstanders received a relayed 911 call from a male aboard a disabled vessel west of Pacific Beach. He confirmed they had fired the red flare.
A Sector San Diego MH-60 Jayhawk crew and CBP AMO UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter crew immediately launched to search and at approximately 6:50 a.m., the CBP AMO Blackhawk crew located the vessel approximately eight miles west of Pacific Beach, in San Diego.
At 8:15 a.m., the Sea Otter’s crew arrived on scene with the vessel and safely rescued 17 suspected illegal migrants from the disabled panga.
They were safely transported to Shelter Island where they were taken into custody by the Marine Task Force. The individuals were then transported to a local U.S. Border Patrol station for processing. A CBP AMO interceptor vessel crew towed the panga to Shelter Island.
The San Diego Regional Coordinating Mechanism is comprised of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations, Office of Air and Marine, U.S. Border Patrol, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Coast Guard and other federal, state and local partners. Collectively, these regional partners conduct interagency operational planning and leverage agency authorities and jurisdictions to combat threat networks that seek to exploit the maritime approaches to the U.S.
The Sea Otter is an 87-foot Coastal Patrol Boat homeported in San Diego.