The U.S. Coast Guard rescued 19 migrants whose boat was seen drifting at sea off the coast of Los Angeles Saturday, authorities said.
A good Samaritan spotted the disabled panga-style boat roughly 18 miles west of Redondo Beach shortly after 9 a.m., the Coast Guard said in a news release.
A coast guard helicopter located the vessel and directed rescue boats to the location.
“With the help of Baywatch Redondo, the rescue boat from Coast Guard Station Los Angeles safely transferred 19 people from the disabled vessel to safety, and Coast Guard Cutter Blackfin towed the disabled vessel to Coast Guard Base Los Angeles-Long Beach,” the Coast Guard said.
The migrants were processed by Customs and Border Protection.
“This case highlights the inherent risks posed to migrants attempting to enter the United States by sea and the dynamic nature of our operations,” said Capt. Ryan Manning, the commanding officer of Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. “The Coast Guard and our local partners responded to a report of a vessel in distress and, after ensuring the safety of everyone involved, shifted to enforcing the nation’s immigration laws. The Coast Guard routinely patrols the California coastline to combat illegal migration and ensure the safety of all people on the water.”