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04 July 2011

Mexico navy: US man dies in Baja boat accident

MEXICO CITY — A U.S. tourist died after a fishing boat capsized in an unexpected storm in the Sea of Cortez off the Baja California peninsula, the Mexican navy said Monday.

Of 44 people on the boat, seven U.S. tourists were missing along with one Mexican crew member, said navy Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez. All others were rescued.

Pineda had no details about the man who died or his home state.

The Erik, a 100-foot (32-meter) tourist fishing boat, capsized early Sunday morning about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the Baja California port of San Felipe. Pineda said two giant waves hit the boat, causing it to tip over.

No one knew of the accident until Sunday afternoon, when another fishing boat rescued three people. Other reports said that at least one passenger swam ashore and had to hike to get help.

Pineda said the navy continued to search Monday with two helicopters, an airplane and 50 personnel. The U.S. Coast Guard is also assisting with a helicopter, he said.

The boat left San Felipe on Saturday carrying 17 crew members and 27 tourists, all U.S. citizens, for a seven-day fishing trip, Pineda said.

- AP