11:21 AM PDT, August 1, 2014
An abandoned 30-foot panga boat was found on a beach near Crystal Cove State Park just south of Newport Beach by a passerby Thursday morning, according to a U.S. Coast Guard news release.
The Coast Guard's Los Angeles-Long Beach office received the call about 8 a.m. Authorities from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Newport Beach lifeguards and police and the Orange County Sheriff's department all responded to search for anyone in distress.
After 90 minutes of searching, no people or unusual boat traffic was found. It appeared the boat was used for illegal immigration as there was no evidence of drug smuggling, the release said.
"This type of event should serve as a reminder to everyone that illegal immigration and drug smuggling is very real and can show up on our shores at any time," Coast Guard Lt. Michael Turanitza said in the release. "The person who came across the panga did exactly what he should have and notified law enforcement authorities."
A contractor was hired to remove the boat and any residual fuel.