Captured in the shocking cell phone video above, a group of about eight suspected undocumented immigrants raced a boat into a Southern California shore and ran out of it.
The incident is believed to be an example of a recent trend of illegal immigration by sea rather than by desert.
Ty Rooke and others witnessed the event from the bluffs in San Clemente at about noon on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"All the sudden, we see a boat coming close to shore and it just so happened there was a set of waves coming through too," Rooke recalled.
"We thought he was riding it and then he all the sudden just beached the boat and then waves just started annihilating the boat. Bodies were just running out left and right," he said.
One of the men was was unable to leave because he was injured and was later taken to a hospital. A woman who at first ran from the boat returned and stood by the injured man, KTLA reports.
Orange County sheriff's deputies are believed to have arrested several of the men and women, and narcotics were reportedly on the boat.
As the US has increased patrolling and fencing along its southern border, the number of human and drug trafficking cases along the Pacific Ocean have tripled since 2008, the Orange County Register reports.
As the paper described immigration by sea: "People pay up to $9,000 to make the trips. The voyages are fraught with danger, with people crammed into tiny boats designed for day fishing trips. Life jackets are rare. Communication is scarce. Night landings are typical."
Also evidence of the perils of traveling by sea without proper resources, more than 60 migrants, most of them Palestinian and more than half of them children, died Thursday after their overcrowded boat sank close to Turkey's shore.