September 19, 2017

One American dead, 7 people missing after tourist boat capsizes

Erik in happier times on the surface.

The US Coastguard and Mexican authorities are searching the sea off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula for up to eight people missing following the capsizing of a tourist boat.

The Erik was carrying more than 40 people, but uncertainty of how many were on the boat is hampering the search efforts. THe one confirmed death so far is that of an American.

All 16 crew members of the Erik survived; another who had been on the list of crew members apparently failed to embark.

The Coast Guard sent a helicopter on Monday to assist the Mexican navy in the search.

The Erik sank in the Sea of Cortez, near Isla San Luis, Mexico, east of Baja, at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, the US Coast Guard said.

“They ran into some bad weather, capsized, the boat sank,” a spokesman for the US Coastguard in San Diego said.

“Several people swam to shore, walked to the nearest town and alerted the Mexican navy to what had happened,” he added.

But the Mexican navy said it was alerted by the cook of the boat, who was rescued by fishermen along with two passengers. He told officials that 27 tourists had been aboard the Erik when it sank approximately 60 nautical miles south of San Felipe, the navy said in a news release.

All the rescued people were in good health and were taken to their hotels, with the exception of one person with diabetes who remained under observation, the navy said.

“We have been working with Mexican navy authorities and the U.S. Coast Guard in the search and rescue,” Baja Sportfishing Inc. the owners of the vessel said in an e-mail. “Right now our main concern is making sure that everyone is accounted for.”

The Erik was a 115-foot fishing boat with a 24-foot beam, according to the company’s website. “Built in Holland, she was equipped with stabilizers to handle the turbulent North Sea,” it said.

Later Monday, the website added, “Due to events occurring at this moment, all further trips are cancelled.”