Transcript for Ship Smuggling Chinese Immigrants Runs Aground in NYC: 1993
New York City and federal officials are tonight trying to find out who was responsible. For trying to smuggle hundreds of illegal Chinese immigrants into the United States. Aboard a small freighter which -- ran aground on a new York city beach early this morning. At least six are known dead scores were hurt. Immigrants described to authorities a horrible journey 100 days it's C -- the cramped freighter with little food. ABC's bill Kelly Moore has details. Approximately 300 illegal immigrants from Asia are thought to have been packed on board the small -- Was discovered at about 2 in the morning aground off a city beach on the Atlantic just east of the entrance to New York Harbor. Some were already on the beach some could have already disappeared into the -- others were jumping into the heavy surf clutching belongings in sealed plastic bags with sealed containers as flotation devices. Okay. Five gallon. Six people are confirmed dead apparently drowned in the last few yards of their long trip from the other side of the world whether everyone else who tried to swim made it may never be known. There's no reliable passenger list and rescuers say there was a strong rip tide and -- out to -- More than twenty were taken to local hospitals after inspecting the ship named the golden venture health officials reported the possibility of tuberculosis. Survivors were asked to Wear face masks. By early afternoon 236. Had been detained and buildings at the beach. Immigration officials say these aliens or their families usually promise smugglers 25 to 30000 dollars for such a trip. But no one comes up with the money dealings are -- -- and forced -- Sushi restaurants for about seven or eight years worth of service effect slavery here in the US that's right. Immigration officials say these would be illegal aliens come from the Fujian province in southeastern China where at best they earn about eighty dollars a month. Word has spread to the four corners of the globe that it's very easy. To come to America claim asylum and then nothing will happen to you even if you don't deserve asylum and never show up at the hearing. Officials are worried about a recent pattern of increased illegal immigration from China but they say it's unusual for so large of people smuggling operation to try to sneak ashore so close to the statue of liberty. And within plain -- here the Empire State Building. Bill Blakemore ABC news on the beach in Queens in New York City.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.