At least 6 missing after fishing boat capsizes

July 4, 2011 4:28:49 AM PDT
At least six people were missing after a 100-foot fishing boat capsized and sank off the coast of Mexico's Baja California, a U.S. Coast Guard spokeswoman reported Monday.

The U.S. Coast Guard was assisting the Mexican navy early Monday in the search for the missing in the Sea of Cortez, Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Boehland said from Alamada, Calif.

The boat had 44 people -- including 27 Americans -- aboard when it capsized around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Boehland said. It left from San Felipe carrying 17 crew and 27 fishermen, according to Baja California Civil Protection Director Alfredo Escobedo Ortiz.

Boehland said the U.S. agency was told by the Mexican Navy that one person had died, but Escobedo said there were no confirmed deaths yet and 11 people were missing. It was not immediately possible to resolve the conflicting reports.

Thirty-seven survivors were alive, including all the Americans, Boehland said.

It took a while for authorities to hear about the tragedy because the boat capsized in a remote area and some survivors had to swim to shore and hike for a while before they could get help, she said.

Mexican navy helicopters were scouring the area, and the U.S. planned to send a helicopter early Monday.

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