Mexico may call off rescue of 7 missing from capsized boat

13:00, July 08, 2011      

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Corey Bordenkecher (R), consulate representative of the United States, meets with survivors from the shipwreck in Baja California, at the village of San Felipe, in Baja California, Mexico, on July 7, 2011. The sport fishing charter boat Erik was carrying 27 U.S. tourists and 16 Mexican crew members when it capsized in rough waters in the Sea of Cortez on Sunday. Seven U.S. tourists from the shipwreck are still missing. (Xinhua/Str)

A Mexican official said they were considering calling off rescue efforts for seven U.S. tourists that went missing after their boat capsized in the Gulf of California Sunday.

At least one American tourist has been confirmed dead, and seven others are still missing after their boat capsized in the Sea of Cortez, off the Californian coast, when hit by a storm, local authorities said Monday.

The vessel, called "The Erik," sank near Mexico's Isla San Luis, Baja California, with 27 tourists and 16 crew members aboard on an annual July 4 fishing trip, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

All of the 16 crew members and 19 tourists have been rescued, said a Mexican Navy spokesman at San Felipe. Some of them clung to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for hours, trying to swim ashore, before being discovered by other fishing boats and the rescue team.

The Mexican Navy searched throughout the day and called the U.S. Coast Guard Sunday evening for helicopter assistance for the missing ones, Coast Guard officials said.

Water temperatures there are warm, but Henry Dunphy with the Coast Guard said survival chances depend on variables like life jackets and age.

Mexican officials from the navy, army and state met late Monday to discuss whether to stop rescue efforts and start recovering bodies of the missing, State Civil Protection Director Alfredo Escobedo Ortiz said.

The name and details of the man who died have not been released yet.

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