An unmanned boat was found at Pescadero State Beach on Saturday, prompting an investigation by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Residents speculated on Facebook as to what the boat may have been carrying. As of press time Tuesday, there had been no official confirmation on speculation that it may have been carrying drugs.
Its appearance Saturday morning also prompted the U.S. Coast Guard to launch a search and rescue helicopter to look for any people in the water, but the search ended after an hour.
According to San Mateo County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Rosemerry Blankswade, the Sheriff’s Office and local firefighters were the first on the scene after the boat was reported around 7:35 a.m. California State Parks rangers then worked over the weekend to clean up debris from the boat that was scattered on the beach. They were assisted by Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Sheriff’s deputies, the Coastside Fire Protection District and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
“It is not clear what type of cargo the vessel was carrying,” State Park Peace Officer Supervisor Barbara Morris wrote in an email to the Review.
According to Morris, the 25-foot boat was removed late Sunday night to be destroyed after Homeland Security gathered information it needed for an investigation. Hazardous waste will be disposed of with the county, Morris wrote.
Coastside resident Melissa Brookmire saw the boat later in the day after the parking lot had been closed, the beach cleaned up and a tow truck was preparing to haul the boat off the shore. Another resident wrote on Facebook she was onsite to help clean up some of the debris.
Two similar incidents occured in 2014. In May of that year, a lightweight boat called a panga that carried 1,000 pounds of marijuana washed up on Pescadero State Beach.
Then in August 2014, a panga carrying 5,100 pounds of marijuana was intercepted off the coast of Año Nuevo State Park, resulting in the arrest of nine suspects. Investigations later found the boat to be piloted from Mexico.