SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) – The first funeral was held Wednesday for one of the Bay Area fishermen killed in the Sea of Cortez off Baja California when their boat capsized.
The U.S. Coast Guard ended aerial searches for the seven Americans still missing after the charter fishing boat sank on July 3rd.
The Coast Guard said its search on Tuesday of a 803 square-mile area of the Sea of Cortez by a C-130 Hercules aircrew would be its last.
Rear Admiral Joseph Castillo said the 11th division’s “deepest sympathies go out to the friends and families of the missing men.”
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
At 63-year-old Leslie Yee’s funeral his friends and family gathered to remember the man they called ‘Bones,’ or ‘Soupy,’ or simply ‘Uncle Les.’
Survivor Michael Ng spent 15 hours paddling, swimming and drifting at sea alongside Yee before he swam away and was rescued 20 minutes later. He said that Yee came very close to surviving as well, calling him a hero.
”He was a very strong, strong man and dedicated to his family,” said Ng. “We gave it our all, so it’s unfortunate that I have to be here today for his funeral.”
Yee’s daughter Lauren told mourners in the Glad Tidings Church that she has lost her best friend, but that she would rather have had her father for the first 23 years of her life, than any other father for a whole lifetime.
Baja California state Civil Protection Director Alfredo Escobedo Ortiz said small Mexican naval craft and other fishermen would continue searching for bodies or survivors.
The boat went down on July 3. Nineteen U.S. tourists and 16 Mexican crew members made it to land. Yee was found drowned on a remote island beach. The others remain missing.
(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)