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Horse trailer crashes east of San Diego during human smuggling attempt

A horse trailer with possible undocumented people on board crashed on Interstate 8 about 55 miles east of San Diego Saturday, and between 10 and 15 people were spotted running into a mountainous ar...

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) - Several people were rushed to the hospital Saturday following, what appears to be, a human smuggling attempt. 

A horse trailer carrying more than a dozen people flipped over on Interstate 8 near Crestwood Road in Boulevard, prompting Cal Fire to declare the accident a mass casualty scene.

“The units arrived on scene. We brought it to an MPI. At first we didn't know how many patients we would have made contact with. As soon as our number started to grow we went ahead and upgraded the incident to an MCI,” said Battalion Chief Kurt Zingheim with Cal Fire.

Initially rescue workers didn't find anyone at the scene.

A witness told the California Highway Patrol they saw about 20 people run into the brush.

“A search quickly found six of the 20 that needed medical assistance,” said Zingheim.

One of those injured was a pregnant woman who was flown out by a medical chopper.

Another was hiding injured in a remote area so deputies used Copter 11 to hoist them out and take them to an ambulance at the forest service station.

Four others were transported by ambulance.

“When you have patients who don't want to be found, who are hiding in rugged terrain, it takes a while for an organized search to locate them, assess them and bring them up to the highway here to be treated or to be placed in custody with the border patrol agents,” explained Zingheim.

Everyone was given a triage tag to wear around their neck based on the severity of their injuries.

Twelve people were arrested by Border Patrol at the scene. Some were handcuffed together until they were searched and placed into a waiting vehicle.

Border Patrol agents reported that all the individuals were in the country illegally.

Initial reports revealed that 18 people were inside the trailer, which was being pulled by a Ford F250 pickup truck. According to the California Highway Patrol, the truck’s top was ripped off after it overturned. The driver of the pickup truck pulling the trailer escaped.

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