Friends of missing Baja fisherman push for dive team

  • An aerial view near the area where a sudden storm capsized the 115-foot vessel, the Erik, in Punta Bufeo, Wednesday July 6, 2011. Mexico's navy and the U.S. Coast Guard spent another day searching for the seven missing U.S. tourists missing now for three days, since the boat capsized in the balmy Gulf of California. Nineteen fishermen and all 16 crew members were rescued late Sunday. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

Friends of a Petaluma man missing since a July 3 boating disaster off the Baja California coast are working to fund a private dive to the sunken boat.

Lorie Goldbeck, a friend of fisherman Shawn Chaddock, said Monday she and others also are trying to pressure elected officials to call for a U.S. Coast Guard "salvage dive" to the Erik, a 105-foot chartered fishing boat that sank during a fierce nighttime storm in the Sea of Cortez.

Chaddock, 49, an auto mechanic, and retired Pacific Bell worker Russ Bautista, 60, of Penngrove are among seven Americans still unaccounted for after the sinking.

Fishing Boat Capsizes Off Mexico


Goldbeck said if authorities approve a search of the vessel before a private dive team can be arranged, all money raised will be split between the families of the seven missing men. The other five are from the greater Bay Area.

"Our hope is the Coast Guard will do a salvage dive of the boat, but we have no idea when that might be," Goldbeck said Monday.

The Coast Guard and Mexican Navy covered more than 7,000 square miles during a nine-day search for survivors. But with no success, authorities officially suspended the search July 12.

Goldbeck is working with the families and friends of the other missing men to hold fundraisers at restaurants, mostly in the South Bay so far, to pay for a private dive team.

They started an online petition and a web site, www.findourfathers.com, to pressure officials to keep looking. Goldbeck said about $14,000 has been raised.

Bautista and Chaddock were with a group of six Sonoma County men who drove to Baja California for what was supposed to be a six-day fishing adventure over the Fourth of July holiday. The four other Sonoma County men were rescued after the sinking.

Goldbeck said she will distribute fliers at this week's Santa Rosa Wednesday Night Market seeking help. Anyone wishing to help or donate can reach Goldbeck 707-292-7200 or send email to goldbecks@sbcglobal.net.

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