For three days, a group migrants from Mexico and Guatemala were stranded on an island off the coast of Los Angeles County with no food and only a stream to drink from, authorities said.
On Sunday, 15 suspected undocumented immigrants were picked up from the north side of Santa Cruz Island after a 911 call was made days early. The caller had stated that he and three other men were stranded on an island, but additional information was not received, as the call was dropped.
The Friday call prompted an air, sea, and land search of the scenic, yet rugged, Channel Islands. The U.S. Coast Guard and National Park Service arrived on Santa Cruz Island and found 15 hungry, but overall healthy undocumented immigrants.
Monday, Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Adam Eggers told the MSNBC, “They were stranded and couldn’t get to the mainland. It was a situation where they chose life over the possible ramifications of making that phone call.”
Once fed and taken to safety, the immigrants were handed over to federal immigration agents.
Though the details are still being put together, authorities believe that they were brought to the island and left there by human smugglers.
Of the 15 immigrants, one is from Guatemala, while the other 14 are from Mexico, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman Virginia Kice said.
Kice added that two of the immigrants were treated at a hospital for minor ankle and wrist injuries, and others had bumps, scrapes and bruises. All were being interviewed to determine if any of them were the smugglers.
Human smugglers from Central and South America have been bringing more people into the U.S. by water rather than land due to increased patrolling and security at the border.