A U.S. Coast Guard member was killed and another was injured when their small boat was rammed by a smuggler's vessel before dawn Sunday off the Southern California coast.
Terrell Horne III of Redondo Beach was pronounced dead after being brought ashore at the Port of Hueneme, said county chief deputy medical examiner James Baroni. He suffered a traumatic head injury, Coast Guard officials said.
The second man was treated for minor injuries. His name wasn't released.
The smuggler's panga, which was running without lights, manoeuvred at a high rate of speed directly at the small boat before fleeing, according to a Coast Guard statement. Both Coast Guard members were thrown into the water.
Another Coast Guard vessel stopped the fleeing panga, and detained two suspects.
"Our fallen shipmate stood the watch on the front lines protecting our nation, and we are all indebted to him for his service and sacrifice," said Admiral Robert J. Papp, Coast Guard Commandant.
The small Coast Guard boat was deployed by the cutter Halibut, which was conducting an investigation into suspected smuggling near the Channel Islands west of Malibu.
The smuggler's vessel was initially detected by a Coast Guard maritime patrol aircraft.