Twenty Mexican nationals were detained after attempting to come ashore in a panga boat off the Malibu coast in Ventura County, authorities said on Thursday.
Sixteen males and four females, all Mexican nationals, were determined to be here illegally, Border Patrol Agent Shane Crottie said.
They came from a boat on the shore of a remote stretch of Malibu beach below cliffs off Pacific Coast Highway. A park ranger had spotted the boat, overloaded and attempting to reach land just before 8 a.m., authorities said.
By the time it did, though, deputies were on the scene to take all the passengers into custody.
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Two were hospitalized, one for exposure, the other for dehydration.
The trip they had just endured, if non-stop, could have included at least 180 miles at sea, although it’s not clear yet what their embarcation point was.
Agents said these panga boats often travel mostly at night, with no beacons for safety, few life jackets, if any, and little or no food or water.
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It's not a new trend, Crottie said.
These "maritime events" have been happening for years.
But in 2021, the numbers are increasing.
"We’ve already seen 221 maritime events," Crottie said. "We’ve seen over 1,500 apprehensions. Unfortunately, five deaths, this fiscal year already."