Nightly News   |  July 04, 2011

1 dead, 7 missing in Baja boating accident

A search-and-rescue operation is still underway after a fishing boat carrying at least 27 Americans capsized in a storm off the coast of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. NBC's Lee Cowan reports.

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>>> there is a desperate search under way tonight to find at least eight people who are missing after a chartered fishing boat with 27 americans on board capsized off the baja peninsula . it happened in a storm early sunday morning about 60 miles south of the port city of san felipe . lee cowan has more.

>> reporter: the fishermen had been bobbing in the sea of cortez for hours before they knew boat had capsized. clinging to life preservers and ice coolers hoping to be plucked from the water. the lucky ones were, one never made it and as many as eight are missing.

>> it's very difficult to find people in the object. it's a small object in a large body of water.

>> reporter: 27 american tourists along with 17 crew members set off on the erik, a 150-foot boat operated by baja sport fishing . it left the turquoise waters on saturday bound for a fourth of july excursion. by saturday night about two miles off the mexican coast, those aboard say she was hit by two massive waves that centered in the bottom in a hurry.

>> it's not out in the open in the pacific somewhere. i assumed they would be perfectly safe.

>> reporter: murphy is the wife of lee, an experienced sports fisherman who paid hundreds hoping to catch a few yellowtail.

>> he said he was fortunate enough that when he was thrown in, he came up right by a raft, so he was very fortunate.

>> reporter: the mexican navy aided by the u.s. coast guard says 35 have been accounted for so far. as for the charter company , the website says all further trips are canceled. lee cowan, nbc news, los