Eleven swimmers trying to reach the U.S. from Mexico were thwarted by border patrol agents in California, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The group was swimming northbound from the international border in the early morning of May 16 when agents with the border patrol’s San Diego sector alerted a station in Imperial Beach, California, of their presence. Imperial Beach is about 130 miles south of Los Angeles and sits along the border with Mexico.
Agents tried to make contact with the swimmers and seven turned around and swam back toward Mexico, according to a news release.
Four people continued to swim north before getting out of the water in a state park where agents apprehended them.
The waters off the beach near Border Field State Park is known for its dangerous rip currents, according to the agency.
“Any attempt to swim around the international border is extremely dangerous for even the most experienced swimmers,” San Diego Sector Communications Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke said in a statement. “Smugglers do not care about the lives they are endangering, they will make them swim at night, ill-equipped for the frigid temperatures and without flotation devices or safety equipment.”
Since 2014, the international group Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of more than 2,980 migrants crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. The main cause of death for migrants is drowning, primarily in the Rio Grande.