The San Francisco Giants celebrated a late night thriller on Wednesday after Nate Schierholtz’s 14th inning walk-off home run to beat the Padres, but the mood prior to the game’s opening pitch was much more somber.
The Giants and fans held a moment of silence in remembrance of the Bay Area fisherman still missing from last Sunday’s boat capsizing off the coast of Baja California. The tragedy hit close to home for the team because a member of their staff was on the trip.
Richard Ciabattari of Novato, survived after the fishing boat he was on overturned due to rough weather early Sunday. He reportedly spent 15 hours in the Sea of Cortez before finally being rescued. Ciabattari, 62, is a Giants usher and was also highlighted in the team’s reflection prior to last night’s game.
Rescued passengers from the July 3 disaster were expected to begin arriving home soon. In all, 35 of the 43 passengers and crew members aboard the ship survived. The Associated Press reported 16 of the 19 tourists left the area Thursday. Many were driving home to the Bay Area having left their cars at a home in San Ramon which was being set up as a base of operations for families awaiting to welcome home their loved ones. AP said three brothers stayed behind to await news of a fourth missing brother.
Many of those rescued told harrowing tales of being picked up by local fishing vessels after either swimming for hours to shore or floating on life jackets or Styrofoam coolers.
The ship, the Erik, was in its second day of a week long fishing trip organized by passengers as an annual Fourth of July adventure. Twenty-seven Americans were on board the ship, and at least one, Leslie Yee of Ceres, Calif., is dead.
Seven other passengers remain missing, including Mark Dorland, 62, of Twain Harte, Calif. Dorland is scheduled to be married next month to fiancée Kristina Bronstein, who told the Mercury News, "I’m beyond concerned."
US Coast Guard officials said they will continue to search the waters for those still missing and haven’t given up hope due to the water’s warmer temperatures, improving the chances of survival. The Mexican Navy is leading the search.
"The Coast Guard policy is that we continue searching for survivors as long as there’s a possible belief of survivability, and at this point we still believe there is a probability," Coast Guard public affairs specialist Levi Read told the Christian Science Monitor. "There are different calculations that we put into locating and predicting survivability, and ability is one of the aspects."