Mexico and U.S. join in search for 7 missing off Baja California

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 05, 2011 4:48 PM

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A search at sea off Mexico's Baja California peninsula continued on Tuesday for seven missing American vacationers who were on a sport fishing boat that capsized in a storm and sank two days earlier.

The Mexican Navy said it was leading the search in the Sea of Cortez for any survivors or the bodies of missing passengers who may have perished.

The U.S. Coast Guard said it was assisting with a C-130 cargo plane flying over the area.

The 115-foot chartered fishing boat dubbed the Erik was carrying 43 people aboard when it capsized early on Sunday, but 35 of those passengers and crew members were rescued by the Mexican Navy, fishermen and other vessels in the area, authorities said.

The body of one passenger, identified as Leslie Yee, was discovered by local police, according to the Mexican Navy.

Mexican authorities said the search continued on Tuesday for the following passengers: Don Lee, Russel Bautista, Mark Dorland, Brian Wong, Al Mein, Gene J. Leong and Shawn Chaddock.

All of the missing individuals are from California, according to port official Dora Winkler in San Felipe, Mexico.

The Erik encountered the storm and overturned on its first night at sea, Mexican officials said. The stricken vessel was found 87 miles south of San Felipe, Mexico, a popular holiday and fishing resort south of Mexicali.

(Reporting by Marty Graham in San Diego, Lizbeth Diaz in San Felipe, Robin Emmott in Monterrey; Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Jerry Norton)