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Fishing Tour Boat Capsizes Off Baja Peninsula, Calif.) -- One person is dead and at least seven others are missing after a chartered fishing boat capsized off Mexico's Baja California peninsula during a storm, authorities said Monday.

The roughly 100-foot-long boat, a catamaran called the Erik operated by the tourism company Baja Fishing, was carrying 44 people on board, including 27 Americans, when it was caught in a thunderstorm and capsized around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Coast Guard Petty Officer Pamela Boehland said from Alameda, Calif.

"When the vessel sank it was close enough to shore that some people were able to swim to shore," Boehland said. "Other people were picked up by good Samaritan vessels that were in the area. Others were rescued by the Mexican Navy."

The Mexican Navy says one American died in the tragic incident.

The U.S. Coast Guard, which is assisting the Mexican Navy, launched a helicopter from San Diego, Calif. to help search for the missing early Monday.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying that staff from the U.S. Consulate General Tijuana Tijuana met with all of the surviving Americans, and that U.S. officials are working with Mexican officials to arrange for the surviving Americans to be transported back to the U.S.

According to an Internet advertisement, the Erik has been operating in the Sea of Cortez since 1989 and can sleep up to 42 guests.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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