National/World

Men return home after boat capsizes in Sea of Cortez

Friday, July 08, 2011
Families speak to ABC7 about Baja boat capsizing 6 Bay Area men still missing after boat capsizes

Some of the survivors of a deadly fishing boat incident in the Gulf of California are speaking out.

The family of Donald Lee is still waiting for word from the search effort in the Sea of Cortez for several missing men who were on board the fishing boat Erik. The search has been expanded and extended until Saturday at the least.

In the meantime, survivors are telling the story of a harrowing experience as their boat began to take on water. They say the captain did little to help them.

"I asked him, did you call the Coast guard?" said survivor Gary Hansen of Novato. "And he didn't say anything. He just kept staring at me."

Hansen said the captain made no effort to notify authorities or Hanson and his fellow passengers that their boat was sinking.

"The top edge of the ship started coming down at me, and it hit my cooler that I was trying to drag out," Hansen said. "It didn't roll over like they say it did. The bow was sticking up in the air. Within 30 seconds, went straight down and out of sight."

Pete Zuger, also of Novato, made it onto one of the small boats that was on-board the Erik.

"There was never any warning to us," said Zuger. "There was no mayday, which at the time I didn't even realize. We didn't see a beacon, no flares. A beacon -- you throw it in the water, a GPS picks it up immediately. We would have been rescued or someone would have been there within an hour."

Zuger says he believes the captain of the Erik should be prosecuted.

Lee Ikegami of San Martin also survived. Martin is worried about the men who haven't been found.

"Find the seven," Ikegami said. "They're all good people."

While survivors recover, several Bay Area families still wait for word on missing loved ones.

"We have to face the fact that this outcome may not end up being the way we want," said Frederick Han, the son-in-law of one missing boater. "For us, one place we know for a fact hasn't been searched is inside the boat."

The Lee Family is pushing for a dive team to go underwater and examine the Erik, but because the boat is believed to be at a depth of over 200 feet, the dive could be dangerous and needs to be coordinated with several different agencies.

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water, gulf of mexico, mexico, san ramon, rescue, national/world, laura anthony
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