At least eight people died after two boats capsized overnight off Blacks Beach in San Diego County, as rescuers continued to search for more missing victims Sunday, San Diego Fire and Rescue said.

Just before midnight Saturday night, San Diego Fire-Rescue received a 911 call from a Hispanic woman who said she was on a pango with 15 people and had made it to the Blacks Beach shore after it capsized. surf, San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief James Gartland said Sunday.

The woman said another panga carrying eight people had capsized and the victims were in the water, according to fire officials.

Officials have not confirmed the nationalities of the victims. According to Gartland, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Rescue Division has seen a 700% increase in human trafficking.

Boatwrecks in California
Lifeguard Robert Butler retrieves a jerry can from one of two boats docked at Blacks Beach, Sunday, March 12, 2023, in San Diego.

Ryhora Bykov / AP

Several agencies, including San Diego Fire Rescue, US Customs and Border Protection, and the US Coast Guard all responded to the scene, but rescuers had difficulty accessing the beach due to high tide and had to continue on foot, wading through “The water is knee-deep to the waist,” firemen report.

“After several hundred yards the beach rescuers reached dry sand and then began to find lifeless bodies and two overturned pangos spread over an area of ‚Äč‚Äčabout 400 yards,” firefighters said.

First responders on the scene found seven bodies, and an eighth body was recovered by CBP Air and Sea Operations officers, firefighters said. According to Gartland, the eight victims may be from both vessels.

Several life jackets and barrels of fuel were also found at the scene, firefighters said.

The victims, all adults, were turned over to the SD County Medical Examiner, according to fire officials.

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