Monday, July 04, 2011

Nightmare on a fishing trip holiday

This 115-foot (35-meter) vessel, the Erik, sank about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the port of San Felipe around 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT; 0930 GMT) Sunday.

Nightmare on a fishing trip holiday, and freaque waves are to blame. According to the City News Service:
A chartered ship, packed with more than 40 passengers on a Fourth of July fishing trip, was struck by two rogue waves in the Sea of Cortez and capsized, prompting the Coast Guard to send a helicopter from San Diego to help search for survivors.

The ship, called the Erik, was sold-out for a four-night trip out of San Felipe, 200 miles southeast of San Diego. One person was confirmed drowned, 8 people were missing, and 37 souls had been rescued at sea or swam ashore, said a Mexican Navy spokesman at San Felipe.

The Erik is a “mother ship,” with supplies, sleeping berths and a galley for a fleet of “panga” boats that take fishermen to spots in the northern end of the Sea of Cortez. Trips are offered by a Dana Point company called JigStop and are popular with Southern California residents.

The vessel sank near Isla San Luis, Baja California, with 44 people aboard around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the Coast Guard. Most passengers swam to shore, and some were rescued by other boats.
This is a truly nightmare as it happened after midnight in very early morning. They were struck by two freaque waves, but as usual no more detail about the waves that caused the nightmare. Here, again, shows that freaque waves make no distinction of where, when, how and why, when it happens, it just happens, even in the always safe Sea of Cortez. Hope all the missing ones be safely rescued, let the one confirmed drowned be rest in peace. May God bless us all always!

Update July 5, 2011

While the area is generally popular with the southern California residents, many in this case are actually from northern California -- they are Bay area tourist on an annual July 4th fishing trip as this updated local news reports:
By early Monday, 19 of the tourists and all 16 crew members had been picked up by the navy or other fishing boats after clinging to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for more than 16 hours.

Mexican navy Capt. Benjamin Pineda Gomez said he had no name or details about the man who died. But he said with the warm weather and water temperature, it's still possible the others missing are alive.

"A person who casts away can survive many days. That sea is calm," he said.

The 115-foot (35-meter) vessel, the Erik, sank about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of the port of San Felipe around 2:30 a.m. PDT (5:30 a.m. EDT; 0930 GMT) Sunday, the second day of a weeklong vacation fishing trip the men had organized for several years each Independence Day holiday.

The boat capsized less than 2 miles (3 kilometers) from shore, but the navy extended its search 60 miles (100 kilometers) deeper into the gulf later Monday after scouring the area by helicopter and airplane and finding nothing, Pineda said.

Most of the 27 men are from Northern California and had made the trip before, eating gourmet dinners on board every night and coming home with ice chests full of fish.
The part that the Mexico Navy Captain say people can survive for many days in the kind of condition there is certainly encouraging.

As behind every single count in the news report there is also a real human story there. The reporter talked to Kristina Bronstein, who is engaged to missing tourist Mark Dorland of Twain Harte, California.
She heard about the accident Monday morning from a trip organizer's wife, who told her Dorland, 62, was one of the first people to fall into the water. He wasn't wearing a life vest.

The couple are to be married next month.
Let's pray for the safe rescue of Mr. Dorland and all those who are still counted as missing.
Tourist Michael Ng of Belmont, California, was rescued with another fisherman as they tried to swim to shore for help, buoyed by a cooler. He was part of a group of 12 friends on the trip.

"I'm relieved I'm alive, but I'm scared for the people who haven't been found yet," he said, adding that he plans to stay in San Felipe during the search and hopes the others are still alive. "We were not very far from shore, so people were beached or stranded on some local islands."

"Some rogue waves hit the boat [and] it started sinking. They put on life jackets and had to bob in the water for a while," the survivor's wife Ya Ng told KTVU in a phone interview.

She said she spoke with her husband Monday morning.

"He said he was praying for his life -- praying for help. Just hoping someone would come by and rescue them," said Ng.
62-year-old Novato resident Richard Ciabattari works for the San Francisco Giants as an usher and was one of those who were rescued from the boat that capsized early Sunday morning. He was wearing a life jacket.

"He was one of the ones who were lucky,"" his wife Jan Askew told KTVU Monday night. "He was a good swimmer."

Askew said her husband has been emotional during his phone calls to her but was physically unharmed. He told her he spent 12 hours in the water. She has also dealt with conflicting emotions since hearing the news.

"Relief and sorrow," said Askew. "Sorrow for the other people who don't know about their loved ones. That's got to be horrible."

Askew told KTVU her husband and other survivors were staying at a hotel and trying to figure out how to get home with all their car keys and passports are at the bottom of the ocean.
These are all real life human stories that every this kind of mishap entails. May God's blessing be with those still missing and may they all be safely rescued.

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