Laguna Beach police responded to the landings of two Panga boats at local beaches Sunday, a department spokesperson said.
Around 6:16 a.m., Laguna Beach officers were dispatched to Crescent Bay Beach after receiving a possible Panga boat landing. Officers discovered one abandoned vessel on the shore and a Spanish-speaking woman hiding near the public restroom building, Lt. Jim Cota, a Laguna Beach police spokesperson, wrote in an email.
The woman was shivering in soaked clothing, appeared ill, and said she had a headache and sore throat. She asked for medical treatment and was taken to Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach for treatment of hypothermia.
The federal Maritime Coordination Center in Long Beach was notified and Customs and Border Protection were dispatched. An agent planned to interview the detained woman at the hospital.
At 6:31 a.m. officers were dispatched to Victoria Beach regarding a second possible Panga boat landing. Officers found an abandoned vessel and several life jackets scattered on the sand. A resident reviewed their security cameras and said the vessel landed around 4:30 a.m. and several people ran from the beach.
MCC coordinated the removal of both vessels. The panga boats were taken off the beach on Sunday, a Marine Safety commander said. Both incidents are under investigation.
The Laguna Beach landings come as federal officials face a humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border, with thousands of immigrants, primarily Haitians fleeing an earthquake-battered country, illegally crossing into Del Rio, Texas. Meanwhile, Southern California law enforcement agencies are grappling with a reported uptick in panga landings this year as far north as Santa Barbara County.View Our User Comment Policy