One woman died and 36 people were detained after as many as 70 people tried to swim around a fence protruding into the Pacific Ocean on the U.S.-Mexico border, authorities said Saturday.
The group tried to swim from Tijuana late Friday night to Border Field State Park in San Diego, the parent agency of the Border Patrol, Customs and Border Protection, he said in a statement.
Border patrol agents called paramedics after discovering an unresponsive woman believed to be part of a group of swimmers. Agents and paramedics offered help, but the woman was pronounced dead around 12:30 p.m., the statement said.
Agents detained 36 Mexican nationals, including 25 men and 11 women. They were taken to a nearby border station.
Some of the detainees were pulled from the ocean. The Coast Guard, which sent two knives and a search helicopter, took 13 people out of the water and handed them over to border patrols, said Adam Stanton, a Coast Guard spokesman.
Section of the border fence that reaches about 300 meters in the Pacific Ocean is one of the most observed parts of the 1900 mile long boundary. While individuals and smaller groups of swimmers occasionally cross, mass attempts are less frequent.
The last 12 months have been the US recorded the most illegal border crossings since record keeping began in 1960. The increase was partly due to the widespread economic damage caused by the pandemic. Migrants came from all over the world, but there were more of them from Mexico than from any other country.
Sea crossings, often on small fishing boats or recreational craft, also increased as sensors and barriers have become increasingly prevalent on land and as the decline in tourism has led some boat operators to switch to smuggling.