Abandoned panga found near Newport Beach

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SAN PEDRO, Calif.- An abandoned 30-foot panga vessel was found on a beach in Crystal Cove just south of Newport Beach, Calif., by a passerby at approximately 6:00 a.m. on Thursday.

The style of the abandoned boat is commonly referred to as a “Panga” and is typically used for illegal immigration or drug smuggling when it is not being used for its intended commercial fishing purposes.

The Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Command Center received notification of the landing at 8:03 a.m. Coast Guard Station Los Angeles-Long Beach launched a 45-foot Response boat and Coast Guard Air Station Los Angeles launched a MH-65 helicopter to search for any possible persons in distress. After 90 minutes of searching, no suspects or unusual boat traffic was found.

Customs and Border Protection, Newport Beach Sheriffs and Police Departments, and Newport Beach Lifeguards all responded to the report. No apprehensions were made. It appeared that the vessel was used for illegal immigration as there was no evidence of drug smuggling.

A third party contractor has been hired to remove the vessel and any residual fuel.

“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. The person who came across the panga did exactly what he should have and notified law enforcement authorities,” said Lt. Michael Turanitza, a Coast Guard Command Duty Officer.

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