Gulf of California: Authorities losing hope for seven Americans lost at sea

The search continues for seven Americans lost at sea after their boat capsized in the Gulf of California. One American was confirmed dead in the accident, while 16 crew members and 19 tourists were rescued.

Jorge Duenes/Reuters
A sailor scans the sea in the search for the missing American tourists. What was supposed to be a week of fishing in the Gulf of California turned into a nightmare after the tourists' boat capsized early Sunday morning.

The search for the seven missing Americans who were on a fishing boat that capsized in the Gulf of California on Sunday continues. But some authorities are losing hope of rescuing the men alive.

Mexican Navy Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez said that with the warm weather and water temperature in the Gulf of California, it's still possible that the missing tourists are alive, reports the Associated Press.

Yet local rescue officials said they had given up hope of finding the missing Americans, according to Reuters. According to the report, divers had also been brought in to aid in the search.

"We have changed the operations, now we're focusing on recovering ... people, but not alive," said Alfredo Escobedo Ortiz, the director of emergency services in Mexico's Baja California state.

Mexican Navy, Army, and state officials met late Monday to discuss the search and announced it would continue over an extended area, according to the Associated Press.

On Tuesday morning, the Mexican Navy continued searching the Gulf of California by plane, helicopter, boat, and from vehicles on the shore, reports the Los Angeles Times. The U.S. Coast Guard also assisted with a C-130 aircraft out of Sacramento.

One American, whose identity has yet to be released, was confirmed dead in the accident. The other 19 tourists and 16 crew members were rescued by early Monday.

The 27 Americans had planned on a six-day fishing excursion, which was cut short early Sunday morning when their 115-foot vessel, the Erik, capsized in a storm. The boat was about 60 miles south of the port of San Felipe when it capsized, reports the Associated Press.

Most of the men were from Northern California and made the Fourth of July trip before. The San Jose Mercury News reported that one survivor, Michael Ng, had gone to Baja California expecting a fun-filled week of guys-only summer fishing.

"I'm relieved I'l alive, but I'm scared for the people who haven't been found yet," Ng said to the Mercury News.

The group rented out the Erik from Baja Sportfishing. According to the Associated Press, the company's business license has been suspended, and all trips have been canceled. Although the business license is suspended according to the California Secretary of State, it is unclear whether it was suspended prior to the accident or after.

The Los Angeles Times also reported a list of the names of the missing passengers, which also probably includes the name of the man reported dead: Russell Bautista, Don Lee, Mark Dorland, Leslie Yee, Brian Wong, Al Mein, Gene J. Leong, and Shawn Chaddock.

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