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.
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