SAN FRANCISCO – Family members Wednesday said they were holding out hope that seven U.S. tourists missing since their boat capsized off Mexico's coast three days ago were still alive.
Mexico's navy and the U.S. Coast Guard spent another day searching for the men in the balmy Gulf of California as relatives who had gathered in San Francisco sought assurances that the search would continue. Most of the 27 passengers on board the ship were Northern California men who traveled to the gulf for an annual Independence Day fishing trip.
California state Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, said at a news briefing with family members that Mexican authorities told him the search would extend beyond 96 hours.
"It's important we hold the Mexican government to this," Yee said.
Mexican navy Capt. Ruben Bustos said Tuesday that a 96-hour search is usually their protocol to rescue people. After that, their search typically turns into a recovery of bodies, though officials have said that the warm weather and water temperature may help the missing survive.
Rescue teams were coordinating with officials across the gulf in the state of Sonora because shipwreck survivors in the region sometimes are swept far away by tides.
Nineteen fishermen and all 16 crew members were rescued late Sunday, hours after a sudden storm capsized the 115-foot vessel, the Erik.
Don Lee, who organized the trip and was among the missing, has a strong will to survive, his brother said.
"We've got three brothers who are all tough, take no prisoners," said Victor Lee of San Francisco.
The crew and the fishermen clung to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for more than 16 hours before the first were found. One passenger, Leslie Yee, a retiree from Ceres, Calif., and no relation to the senator, was found dead.
Relatives have set up a Facebook page, "Find Our Fathers," with descriptions and photos of the missing men.
Find Our Fathers: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Find-our-Fathers/237248496303346
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