1 dead, 13 rescued after dozens try to swim around San Diego border fence

SAN DIEGO — A woman died trying to swim around the water border barrier that separates San Diego from Mexico on Friday night, authorities said.

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Thirteen other people were rescued from the Pacific Ocean as they attempted to swim into the United States, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The woman was believed to be among 70 people who attempted to circumvent the barrier and reach the beach at Border Field State Park, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Jackie Wasiluk told the newspaper.

She died at the scene and was pronounced dead at about 12:30 a.m. PDT, the Union-Tribune reported.

Agents apprehended 36 Mexican nationals, including 25 men and 11 women, according to The New York Times.

The U.S. Coast Guard used a helicopter as part of search and rescue efforts, agency spokesperson Specialist 1st Class Adam Stanton told the Union-Tribune.

“We grabbed 13 people out of the water and took them to shore, handing them to the Border Patrol because it is their jurisdiction to process them and get them back to where they need to be,” Stanton told the newspaper.

In a news release, Border Patrol agents were notified at about 11:38 p.m. PDT that a large group of people was moving from Tijuana toward the border barrier in the water. Agents and the Coast Guard were assisted by CBP Air and Marine officers, members of the San Diego Fire Department, lifeguards and personnel from the California State Parks.

“This is yet another example of the ruthless tactics smuggling organizations use to bolster their power and profits,” Aaron Heitke, chief patrol agent for the San Diego sector, said in a statement. “We will work tirelessly to pursue and bring to justice those responsible for this tragedy.”