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Tourists missing after boat capsizes

Mexican rescuers were scouring the Gulf of California yesterday for seven Americans whose fishing boat capsized two days ago, saying they were extending their search because the missing tourists could still be alive in the warm, calm waters.

One American has been confirmed dead in the accident, which came after a flash storm upended the boat before dawn on Sunday, spilling dozens of tourists and crew members into the water. The identity of the dead man was not released.

By early on 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.

Captain Benjamin Pineda Gomez, of the Mexican navy, said that with the warm weather and water temperature in the Gulf of California, it was still possible that the missing tourists were alive. "A person who casts away can survive many days. That sea is calm," he said.

The 35-metre vessel, the Erik, sank about 60 miles south of the port of San Felipe at about 2.30am local time on Sunday, the second day of a fishing trip. The boat capsized less than two miles from shore, but the navy extended its search 60 miles deeper into the gulf. Most of the 27 men on the fishing excursion are from northern California and had made the trip before.