Crystal Pier
The Crystal Pier at Pacific Beach. Photo by Dirk Hansen via Wikimedia Commons

A boat believed to have been used in a human- smuggling operation landed Thursday near Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, but everyone inside ran off before authorities arrived at the scene.

A boat was spotted on the sand at the end of Hornblend Street about 7 a.m., Border Patrol spokesman Theron Francisco said.

Witnesses reported seeing approximately 25 people get out of the boat and break off into four or five groups, Border Patrol Supervisory Agent Michael Scappechio said. Two of the groups were seen getting into two vehicles that then left the scene.

San Diego police officers responded to the scene, but no one has been apprehended, Scappechio said.

San Diego lifeguards and the U.S. Coast Guard also responded to the area to assist with the investigation.

Federal personnel investigated two similar incidents last week.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials investigated a panga boat that washed ashore around 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 28 at Windansea Beach in La Jolla. It remains unclear if the boat was occupied when it washed ashore.

A Coast Guard vessel intercepted a small fishing boat around 15 miles west of Point Loma on Aug. 27 around 3:45 a.m. that was carrying 17 suspected undocumented immigrants and two suspected smugglers.

–City News Service