Three stowaways who boarded a freighter in Panama were caught as they ran from a ship docked at Port Elizabeth. A fourth fourth drowned after jumping into the water to try to elude authorities.

The men, whose identities were not released, got off the freighter Hanjin Wilmington Wednesday afternoon, said Steve Coleman, a spokesman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates the seaport.

The boat was docked at the APM Terminal when when the four men tried to run from the terminal grounds, Coleman said.

APM security and Port Authority police responded, and quickly caught three of them. The fourth jumped into the water, Coleman said.

"The police officers threw him flotation devices, but he was unable to grasp them," Coleman said. "He went under the water, and that was the last we saw of him."

Dive teams looked for the man, but called off the search shortly after 5 p.m.

The three others were in the custody of the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.