Eighteen people aboard a broken-down and adrift boat were rescued off the coast of the United States-Mexico border on Wednesday evening after days without food or water, authorities said.
The U.S. Coast Guard said it received a report around 4 p.m. about a small, motorized boat full of people drifting in international waters about 16 nautical miles offshore of San Diego, near California’s border with Mexico, and dispatched a helicopter crew to help rescue them. The helicopter recovered five women and two young children from the boat, while a Mexican naval vessel rescued the remaining 11 men on board, according to the Coast Guard.
Three people were subsequently transported to nearby U.S. hospitals, the Coast Guard said. Their conditions were unknown.
The occupants — “presumed migrants” — told officials that their boat had broken down and they had been without food and water for five days, the Coast Guard said. Their boat was taking on water but not enough to sink it entirely. They were unable to call for help but a passerby spotted them and contacted authorities, according to the Coast Guard.
None of the individuals were in the water and all were wearing life jackets at the time of their rescue, the Coast Guard said.