Fishing Tour Boat Capsizes in the Sea of Cortez

San Felipe

ABCNews: One person drowned and six others are missing after a chartered fishing boat capsized off Mexico's Baja California peninsula during a storm, authorities said Monday.

The roughly 100-foot-long boat, a catamaran called the Erik operated by the tourism company Baja Fishing, was carrying 44 tourists on board, mostly Americans, when it was struck by an electrical storm and then capsized early yesterday, port and Navy officials said.

The boat was found 87 miles south of San Filipe, Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez, an area usually known for its scuba diving and sport fishing.

"When the vessel sank it was close enough to shore that some people were able to swim to shore," said U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman Pam Boehland. "Other people were picked up by good Samaritan vessels that were in the area. Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy."

While authorities say all Americans have been accounted for, the Mexican Navy, which is leading the rescue effort, will only say that "at least 27" Americans have survived. The U.S. Coast Guard launched a helicopter from San Diego, Calif. to help search for the missing.

"We are still looking for the rest of the people. The weather is really bad right now, with strong wind," said local port official Felipe Vallecillo told Reuters.

Vallecillo said weather conditions were normal when the boat set sail on Saturday.

According to an Internet advertisement, the Erik has been operating in the Sea of Cortez since 1989 and can sleep up to 42 guests.


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