Lifeguards, Coast Guard rescue 23 on fishing boat off San Diego coast

SAN DIEGO — The U.S. Coast Guard, along with local agencies, responded to a fishing boat having trouble off the San Diego coast.

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Originally the boat was spotted by San Diego Harbor Police department around 2:50 a.m. local time, KNSD reported.

When they arrived they found almost two dozen people crammed on a panga, KSWB reported.

USCG Petty Officer Alex Gray said the boat’s captain would not listen to commands. Then he got the vessel stuck near Osprey Point at Sunset Cliffs, KNSD reported.

San Diego Lifeguards said they responded with a rescue boat around 4 a.m. and got the people on board the boat to the USCGC Robert Ward.

Coast Guard boats were being used to ferry those on board to shore for processing, KSWB reported.

Border Patrol was also called in.

The Los Angeles Times reported the boat is believed to be a vessel used for smuggling. Twenty men and three women were on board and Border Patrol said they were illegally in the U.S. Twenty of the people were from Mexico and three were from Guatemala, according to Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Jeffery Stephenson.