20 Passengers Apprehended After Panga Boat Washes Up in Malibu

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Panga Boat

A panga boat containing 20 people washed up on the sand in Malibu on Thursday morning, Aug. 12, according to local authorities. 

A California State Parks ranger spotted the boat before 8 a.m. and called in assistance from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO), according to a VCSO social media post. 

The boat was beached at Thornhill Broome in Ventura County, just west of the Ventura County Line in unincorporated Malibu; when those who had been on board were seen fleeing eastward toward LA County, the LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) was called in to assist in their apprehension, according to LASD Lt. Jim Braden, the Malibu liaison to the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

“We received a call of a boat,” Braden said, describing the small skiff coming ashore in Ventura County. “Our involvement came because the occupants of the boat … started coming eastbound, which would be the LA County side.”

The passengers included 16 males and four females, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent told NBC News.

According to Braden, the passengers were taken to a nearby fire station where they underwent a medical screening; VCSO indicated they were suffering from dehydration and hunger. Multiple reports stated two passengers were rendered medical aid at a nearby hospital.

When asked if the passengers were thought to have crossed the border from Mexico into the United States, Braden said according to statements made on scene the journey had begun farther south in Baja California.

One of the men said they had been on that boat for three days, according to Braden’s recollection. 

“They were from Mexico, but they weren’t from the border; they were from further down in Mexico—at least that’s one of their statements was … [that is] where they had gotten on the boat,” Braden said.

Border patrol told NBC News the number of panga boats washing up on shore had increased in 2021 over previous years, but did not provide specific numbers.