After hitting the shore, everyone on board the boat jumped into the water as the boat disintegrated; 27 were hospitalized with various injuries.

San Diego. A crowded smuggling vessel capsized off the California coast Sunday after crashing into the shore, killing three people and causing another 27 to be hospitalized with various injuries, US authorities said.

The accident occurred Sunday morning off San Diego , and everyone aboard the 40-foot vessel jumped into the water as the ship slowly disintegrated, eyewitness videos showed.

“It was a smuggling vessel,” Jeffery Stephenson of the Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs told reporters. Those on board were likely migrants trying to enter the United States illegally, and ” Border Patrol agents are with a man who we believe was the operator.”

“The smugglers don’t care about the people they are exploiting,” he said.

“All they care about is profit. They had inadequate safety equipment and obviously this boat was seriously overloaded.”

The 27 survivors were taken to hospitals with “varying degrees of injuries,” said Jose Ysea, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire and Rescue Department.

First responders carried out seven rescues from the water and one from a cliff, said San Diego Chief Rescuers James Gartland.

The accident took place at a time when the United States is experiencing a large influx of undocumented immigrants on its southern border.

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