Fishing Tour Boat "The Erik" Capsizes in Mexican Waters

ABC News is reporting that a chartered fishing boat with 44 tourists aboard capsized and sank off Mexico's Baja California peninsula.  A 115 foot long vessel called "The Erik"  was reportedly struck by a storm and then capsized early yesterday 87 miles south of San Filipe, Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez

There are conflicting reports regarding the number of survivors. The ABC report states that  one person drowned and six others are missing. 

The U.S. Coast Guard sent a helicopter from San Diego to search for the missing.  A Coast Guard spokesperson said that the fishing boat "was close enough to shore that some people were able to swim to shore.  Other people were picked up by good Samaritan vessels that were in the area. Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy."  A Coast Guard press release indicates that the incident occurred around 2:30 in the morning on Sunday.

The ABC report indicates that the fishing boat was operated by Baja Fishing.  Other newspapers identify the operator as Baja Sportsfishing.  Internet advertising indicates that "Jig Stop Tours" of Dana Point California is the booking agent.   

Although the vessel capsized around 2:30 a.m., no distress signals were apparently sent from the vessel. 

The El Mexicano Newspaper released a list of the first 20 survivors, which included  crew members and paying passengers.  Photographs of the survivors ashore can be viewed here.

Erik Jaba Sportsfishing - Capsize - Mexico

July 5, 2011 Update:  The Dana Point Times reports that Jog Stop Tours did not book this particular fishing trip.  Seven U.S. citizens remain missing.  A news station in California reports that the "California Secretary of State website says Baja Sportfishing's business license has been suspended. It doesn't state a reason or give a date."

Photo credit:  bajasportfishinginc.com via CBSNews.com  

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
don clute - July 4, 2011 10:56 AM

have been on 3 trips on the eric and allways the first week of july. what a great fishing experience. once in the l.a bay we were in a storm. even though in the bay and anchored it was very scary. it was a very old danish ship built in 1947. i am so sorry for the fisherman and crew. what a shock.

Jim Hoffman - July 4, 2011 3:13 PM

Been on several of these 'Mother Boat' trips, though never on the Erik. They have, like, NO safety measures of any kind in effect. Was on the Captain Villegas when it plowed into a submerged rock (found out later the Captain had the electronics turned off, and was drinking tequilla). This is Mexico, folks...

george ledbetter - July 4, 2011 11:27 PM

@hoffman; of course NO U.S. captain would be in command and drunk at the same time, right? No, certainly not Joe Hazelwood, or Timothy Pooler, or Seong Ug Sin, or Michael Gansas, or Gene Auletta.....or....

Quit mexico bashing, its a different country, different culture, different people and its a great place. I live there 6 months a year and after 20+ years, have nothing but good memories.

Allan Near - July 5, 2011 9:19 PM

Conflicting reports. Sounds like a chabasco blew in quickly. I started fishing with the Captain of the Eric 20 something years ago. He is very compitent. The Captain Villegas is now the Tony Reyes. I was planning on being on the Eric this summer. Gustavo Velez's other boat is being rebuilt after a fire.

john williamson - July 6, 2011 11:10 AM

I have been on the Erik twice, most recently in November 2010 out of Magdalena Bay, on the Pacific side of Baja. Yes, the boat and crew were not focused on safety, but the captain was very experienced. This is just a fluke that could have happened to any boat.

joe mcginnis - July 10, 2011 11:45 PM

Yeah conflicting reports!
I was in that area from march 17 to may 23rd on a 27ft
I read the Eric sank near San Mateos bay I must have missed that bay, I will google it.
Peurto Cedos is about 55 to 60 miles south of San Felipe then Gonzaga/ Willard bay's

David Kight - July 11, 2011 8:47 AM

Spent 3 years on a minesweeper in the early 50's went through some bad storms at times and never had a worry. 22 years of fishing in a Bosten Whaler on Lake Erie, never a worry.

I spent a week on the ERIK in the late 90's and I had a worry.

If I had been the skiper of ERIK I would not have left the dock with her. I felt no one was in charge,and the ones that were did not know what they were doing.

But I will admit I had a Great Time and I'll never forget the trip.

Don Pellinen - July 14, 2011 1:01 PM

The three story structure built behind the regular structure probably was responsible for the ship capsizing. Something that tall and heavy reduces the stability of the ship. If it is hit with wind or waves it will make the ship tip and if it goes beyond a certain angle the ship will capsize. A modification such as this would not have been allowed on a US registered ship. The Mexican authorities share the blame for these deaths by allowing a vessel to be modified like this and carry passengers. I am sure no stability calculations and tests were done as would have been required in the USA.

Joelle Bautista - July 6, 2012 7:17 PM

One year later and no answers. There is a lot of blame to go around. My husband did not return from this trip. he is one of the eight. If there is no enforcement , any laws even new ones are worthless. It is unsafe to travel there, even on land. They do not value American lives but they for sure will take your money. They won't buy enough life jackets or have a safety program or check to see if the boat is properly equipped . The port authority will not even check if the ship has license and insurance. Right there the ship could /should have been stopped . Circumstances would all have been different and most likely these eight men would still be alive. The federalis had the opportunity to stop it too as they reportedly boarded the ship after calling it back from departure to tell the captain he should not leave due to an impending storm.
One year later...no conclusion to their supposed investigation...no accountability. The longer they wait they hope we will forget. The general public will. But not the families and not the 19 survivors who have this memory to haunt them having spent some 15 hours at sea in the dark without a life jacket. No may day, no pan pan, no flares, no call out to the cabin less then fifteen feet behind where my husband was. Nada
33 to 44 seconds to get off. 2:30 am pitch dark, 60 mph winds and high seas. Hardly a chance. We are lucky to get 19 back.

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