A Mexican fishing boat that capsized and sank nearly a year ago in the Sea of Cortez, leaving one person dead and seven presumed drowned, was found this week by divers who were part of a search effort launched by those who had lost family members in the tragedy.
The Contra Costa Times reports that the 105-foot Erik, which carried mostly anglers from Northern California on what was supposed to be a week-long adventure, was positioned vertically on the sea floor about 75 miles south of its home port of San Felipe.
The discovery of the missing boat — after three unsuccessful dive expeditions — was confirmed by a relative of one of the victims and a survivor.
“It is bittersweet,” Charles Gibson Gibson, who survived an ordeal that began in a fierce electrical storm, told the newspaper. “This story seems to never have an ending, and I don’t know if it will in my mind and for the families of the missing.”
Dive crews have not yet been able to get inside the vessel to search for bodies of the missing anglers.
The Erik was carrying 44 people when it capsized at 2:30 a.m. near Isla San Luis, about two miles offshore. Nineteen anglers and 16 crew members were rescued in a dramatic operation that was launched after the cook, following his rescue by a local skiff fisherman, was able to alert authorities.
Some of the anglers and crew managed to swim to shore. Others clung to floating objects until rescuers arrived.
The Erik, which was owned and operated by Baja Sportfishing, ran six-day trips to the Midriff Islands about 120 miles south of San Felipe.
The search was spearheaded by family members of lost fishermen Al Mein.
Said his daughter-in-law, Dena Jacinto: “We’re so excited that we found the Erik. It’s definitely a step in the right direction to bring closure to the families.”
The discovery of the Erik has been reported to Mexican authorities.