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Immigrant Children Hugging

4 Dead And More Than 20 Injured After Suspected Smuggling Vessel Overturns In San Diego 

Four people are dead and about two dozen individuals were hospitalized after a suspected smuggling vessel was overturned off the coast of San Diego this past weekend. 

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesperson Monica Munoz spoke with the local media about how they received reports of a vessel that overturned near the Cabrillo National Monument in Point Loma around 10:27 am on Sunday morning. 

James Gartland is the lifeguard chief for San Diego who told reporters that it appeared the vessel hit the reef which caused it to break up, and about 30 people came out of the vessel. 

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“This was a mass rescue operation that turned into a mass casualty incident. By the time first responders arrived, the 40 foot cabin cruiser was broken apart.” 

According to lifeguard lieutenant Rick Romero with San Diego Fire-Rescue, “there were 30 people on the boat, most made it to shore on their own but six people were rescued from the water after a rip current pulled them out to sea.” 

“Our goal was to just rescue everyone we could, we even had a Navy staff member who just happened to be out with his family come and try to save people from the water.” 

“Conditions were pretty rough — 5-6 feet of surf, windy, cold, the water’s around 60 degrees so you get hypothermic pretty quickly,” Romero said.

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The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said on its incident page: “we responded along with Federal Fire, US Coast Guard and other local agencies. Every indication, from our perspective, is that this was a smuggling vessel used to smuggle migrants into the United States illegally.”

More than 20 people have been transported to local hospitals “including Sharp Memorial, Palomar Medical Center West, Alvarado, UCSD Medical Center (Hillcrest), Grossmont Hospital, Kaiser Clairemont Mesa, Kaiser Zion and Paradise Valley Hospital.” The fire department said it “will not get any updates on the status of patients because of privacy laws.”

The individual operating the boat is currently in custody, and CBP announced this week that it would be increasing patrol operations to deter smugglers. 

“We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of maritime smuggling attempts recently. All of these illegal crossings at sea are inherently dangerous, and we have seen too many turn from risky to tragic as smugglers sacrifice the safety of those on board for the sake of profits,” said Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke with CBP’s San Diego sector.

According to Stephenson there has been a 92% increase in maritime apprehensions of smugglers this past year alone.

Cruise Ships

Two Cruise Ships Collide, Injuring Six

The last thing you’d want to experience when vacationing on a cruise is an accident that stops the festivities and puts people in danger. But that’s exactly what happened to passengers on two cruise ships which collided today off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico, injuring six. Fortunately, nobody sustained any serious or life-threatening injuries, and both ships were deemed to be seaworthy despite the damage, meaning passengers are able to complete their cruise as scheduled. The collision of the two ships, the Carnival Glory and the Carnival Legend, was captured on video and frightened passengers, who heard the sound of cracking and shattering glass and were told to evacuate rooms close to the scene of the accident. Indeed, as can be seen in the video, much of the Carnival Legend’s dining hall was destroyed in the impact, though fortunately no one was directly struck by the colliding ship. One passenger was hurt while rooms were being evacuated, though, and five more passengers arrived at the Carnival Glory’s medical center for evaluation, having sustained minor injuries.

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As of yet, it is unclear exactly what led to the collision, which occurred around 10 a.m. this morning as one ship was maneuvering to dock and ran into the other ship which was already docked. For now, Carnival officials have advised the ships’ passengers to spend their day in Cozumel as they continue to assess the damage to the ships and manage the aftermath of the accident. According to passengers of the Carnival Glory who spoke with CNN about the incident, high winds and ocean currents were factors that led to the crash, though a full investigation has yet to be completed. While passengers who were close to the point of collision screamed as they witnessed the frightening event, most of each ships’ passengers barely noticed the crash, describing it as feeling like the boat had been jolted by a large wave. Carnival has not yet said whether it would compensate the customers who underwent the frightening ordeal for its mistake.

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While incidences like this are rare, particularly as technology and safety standards have evolved, passengers of cruise ships do occasionally find themselves in the middle of accidents that at best put a damper on their vacation and at worst threaten lives. While today’s collision is relatively minor, all things considered, more serious events have taken place on cruise ships in the past. Everybody knows that the Titanic sank after colliding with an iceberg over a century ago, but this is not the deadliest accident on a cruise ship in history; that would be the destruction of the MV Wilhelm Gustloff, which was built by the Nazis and was sunk by torpedoes fired from a Russian submarine in 1945, killing over nine thousand passengers. More recently, a generator fire left the Carnival Triumph without electricity for days, disabling the boat’s sewage system and causing the ship’s passengers and crew tremendous stress. And in 2012, the Costa Concordia, which had room for 4,200 guests, sank after hitting an underwater rock, killing 32 passengers.