Monday, July 4, 2011

Fishing boat filled with American tourists capsizes off Mexico; U.S. tourist dead, 8 people missing

A fishing boat carrying 44 people - including 27 Americans - capsized off of the Baja California peninsula Sunday.

A fishing boat carrying 44 people - including 27 Americans - capsized off of the Baja California peninsula Sunday.

A U.S. tourist is dead and eight people are missing after a 100-foot fishing boat capsized and sank off the coast of Mexico, authorities said.

The boat was carrying 44 people - including 27 Americans - off of the Baja California peninsula when it flipped over in a storm around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Boehland.

The craft was carrying 17 crew and 27 fishermen and was about 60 miles out from its departure point in San Felipe , said Baja California Civil Protection Director Alfredo Escobedo Ortiz.

The U.S. Coast Guard had joined the Mexican navy early Monday in the waters of the Sea of Cortez which separates the peninsula from Mexico's mainland.

Mexican navy Capt. Benjamin Pinera Gomez said seven tourists and one crew member were missing. The man who died has not yet been identified.

Pinera said Monday that eight others remain missing of the 44 people on the boat: seven tourists and one crew member.

Word of the tragedy took some time to reach authorities because the boat capsized in a remote area and some survivors had to swim to shore and hike some distance before they could get help, Boehland said.

Another fishing boat rescued three people Sunday afternoon, Pinera said. 
He said the navy continued to search Monday with two helicopters and an airplane, plus a third helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard.

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