Search Baja California

Friday, September 9, 2011

NEWS - Sonar search fails to find fishing boat sunk in Sea of Cortez


A weeklong boat search with sonar failed to find the sunken wreckage of a fishing boat that capsized two months ago off the Baja California coast, but the family of seven missing fishermen say they will continue raising money to extend the search.
"This is not over for us," said Jon Carver, the son-in-law of missing fisherman Don Lee, during a news conference called by the families Sunday in Lee's hometown of San Ramon. "For the sake of closure, we want to go back and find the boat with the right weather and tides."
The search is complicated by water depths of 160 or more feet and uncertainty about where the tourist fishing boat capsized and sank about 2 a.m. July 3 in a freak storm in the Sea of Cortez some 60 miles south of San Felipe.
No emergency homing beacon for the boat was activated that night, delaying the rescue.
With the Mexican government search and rescue called off long ago, family members hired a private boat and crew to search 13 square miles of ocean by towing a side-scan sonar device deep in the water.
Carver likened it to "mowing a lawn at 2 mph" with the boat carefully following a grid.
The search, completed Tuesday, came up empty. Family members declined to discuss the search costs.
After a three-hour meeting Sunday in a San Ramon restaurant, family members emerged to announce they will continue fundraising to search more waters.
Information about the fundraising is posted on a website at www.findourfathers.com.


The boat must be found before the family members can consider sending divers down to look for remains.
Finding the boat also could provide valuable information for the Mexican investigation into the cause of the accident, Carver said.
A total of 43 people -- 16 crew members and 27 American tourists -- were on the fishing boat Erik when it sank.
Thirty-five men made it safely to shore. One body was recovered on a remote island beach, and the other seven fishermen remain missing.
While interviews with survivors provided some clues as to the location of the sinking, the information wasn't definitive because the men came ashore on many isolated islands and shorelines miles apart from each other, said Joseph Jacinto, son of Albert Mein, one of the missing fishermen.
Contact Denis Cuff at 925-943-8267. Follow him at Twitter.com/deniscuff.