July 4, 2011 / 6:57 AM / 8 years ago

Tourist boat capsizes off Mexico's Baja peninsula

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - A small boat with 44 mostly American tourists on board sank off Mexico’s Baja California peninsula on Sunday and 23 people were still missing after rescuers pulled half of the passengers from the water.

The tourist ship left the port of San Felipe on the Sea of Cortez, a haven for windsurfers and sports fishermen, on Saturday but was struck by an electrical storm and capsized the next day, port officials and the navy said.

Five Mexicans and sixteen Americans were rescued by boats and a navy helicopter when the captain made an emergency call for help. The boat was found around 87 miles (140 kilometres) south of San Felipe.

“We are still looking for the rest of the people. The weather is really bad right now, with strong wind,” said local port official Felipe Vallecillo.

Vallecillo said weather conditions were normal when the boat set sail on Saturday.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; editing by Anthony Boadle

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