Authorities sought Friday morning to find as many as three people missing from a panga smuggling boat off the coast of Del Mar.
Deputies responded around 4:30 a.m. to assist with a rescue off the shore of a beach near 11th Street, San Diego County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Bodine said.
The Del Mar Fire Department and U.S. Coast Guard also responded to help rescue people who may have fallen out of a panga boat off the shore, Bodine said.
Authorities received reports that 16 people were in distress from a “dump and run,” where a panga boat operator out of Mexico unloads passengers off the coast so they have to swim to shore, said Mike Stein, fire chief for Del Mar, Encinitas and Solana Beach.
Lifeguards rescued 11 people suffering from mild hypothermia, Stein said. Those 11 people were taken to hospitals for treatment.
Two people were found hiding in bushes nearby the beach, bringing the total to 13, CBS8 reported.
The fire chief said it remains unclear whether the remaining people had made it to shore and left, or were still in the ocean.
The U.S. Coast Guard was searching the ocean along with an Oceanside harbor police boat, a San Diego Fire-Rescue helicopter and lifeguards from San Diego and Del Mar in boats, Stein said, adding that divers will also be brought in to help search.
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