Image: The Erik
Alecia Cornelius  /  The Reel Sister
The Erik, which capsized and sank in a storm off Mexico's Baja California peninsula on Sunday.
updated 7/7/2011 2:19:57 PM ET 2011-07-07T18:19:57

Mexican authorities said Thursday they will continue searching for seven U.S. men missing since a tourist fishing boat capsized and sank off Mexico's coast, pushing the effort past the standard 96 hours.

Baja California state and Navy officials have decided to extend the rescue efforts "with the same intensity and personnel," despite the Mexican Navy's usual protocol to search for survivors for no more than four days, the state government said in a statement.

Rescuers were coordinating with officials in the state of Sonora across the Gulf of California in case tides have swept victims or survivors there.

Story: Captain arrested after Mexico ship capsize, victim's kin says

Corey Bordenkecher of the U.S. Consulate in Tijuana, across from San Diego, said the United States has offered to send deep-water divers, but the offer has yet to be accepted by Mexican authorities.

U.S. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board officials will assist Mexican authorities in their investigation, Bordenkecher said.

Sixteen of the 19 tourists who were rescued returned to the United States in their own vehicles on Thursday.

Three brothers, Gary, Craig and Glen Wong, stayed behind to await news of their brother Brian, who was missing.

A sudden storm struck early Sunday, capsizing the 105-foot (32-meter) vessel, the Erik. The crew and the fishermen clung to coolers, rescue rings and life vests for more than 16 hours.

The navy and other fishing boats pulled 19 fishermen and all 16 crew members from the water late Sunday. The vessel sank about 60 miles (100 kilometers) south of San Felipe.

Most of the 27 U.S. tourists on board the ship were Northern California men who traveled to the gulf for an annual Independence Day fishing trip.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Search still on for Americans lost at sea

  1. Closed captioning of: Search still on for Americans lost at sea

    >>> in mexico, rescue teams are still trying to find seven americans missing after their fishing boat capsized sunday. but time may be running out in this situation. they have been lost at sea now for four days, and the mexican navy says it will stop rescue efforts on friday. this as we're learning more about how 35 men narrowly escaped the waters alive. nbc's miguel aguiler with more.

    >> reporter: a brief moment of relief after a fight for their lives.

    >> a shark circled us twice. i was bleeding. i thought i'm done.

    >> michael lang calls his rescue a miracle and believes the seven missing americans, fathers, husbands, brothers, will be found alive.

    >> i'm still very hopeful. i was in the water for 16 hours and i was okay.

    >> reporter: the survivors have been living together at a hotel here ever since their rescue. they remain focused on finding the missing and helping the families of the missing hundreds of miles away . sharon clings to hope that her husband albert is still alive.

    >> he fought in the vietnam war . he was over there for three years. that's the only thing that gives me hope, he's a survivor.

    >> reporter: the mexican army will end its rescue on friday. they brought glenn to safety but couldn't find his brother brian.

    >> was there a part of you thinking about your brother?

    >> the whole time, the whole time.

    >> each day that goes by that we don't have confirmation, it becomes even more and more discouraging.

    >> reporter: for survivors and families of the missing, hoping for a miracle as time runs out.

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