A charter fishing boat with 44 people aboard sank into the Sea of Cortez off Mexico on Sunday, leaving at least one person dead, the United States Coast Guard said. Eight people, seven of them Americans, were still missing late Monday night.
“Initial reports from Mexico are that it was bad weather and possibly waves,” said Lt. Sean Groark, a spokesman for the Coast Guard. “We’re focused on really trying to save people. The water temperature in the Sea of Cortez is very warm, the air temperature is really warm; that increases the chance of survival. It actually increases it a lot.”
Twenty-seven Americans and 17 other passengers and crew members were aboard the boat when it foundered at 2:30 a.m. Sunday, about 60 miles south of the port of San Felipe, the Coast Guard said. Many were able to swim ashore, and they alerted local authorities that the ship, the Erik, had gone down. Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy.
The Associated Press reported that the accident occurred on the second day of a weeklong trip, which was an annual Fourth of July ritual for many of the people on the boat.
The company that operates the boat, Baja Sportfishing Inc., said in an e-mail message: “We are devastated by this horrible tragedy. Every effort is being made to assist the authorities in the search. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families.”
Michael Ng of Belmont, Calif., told The A.P. that he and another fisherman were rescued as they tried to paddle toward the shore, using a cooler to help keep themselves afloat.
“I’m relieved I’m alive,” Mr. Ng said, “but I’m scared for the people who haven’t been found yet.”