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Yacht sinks; crew rescue reported

Coast Guard crews searched the seas off the Mexican resort of Cancun on Saturday for crew members on a 150-foot yacht that capsized and sank in heavy seas, but authorities think all are safe. The Corsair Elixir was on its way from Key West to Cancun for use as a tourist dive ship when the ship reported it was taking on water through an open hatch, said Petty Officer Terry Johns at the Miami Coast Guard station.

A Mayday call Thursday night was monitored by a Mexican airplane and relayed to the tanker San Luis sailing nearby, Johns said.

The tanker diverted to the yacht's location in the Yucatan Channel about 40 miles northeast of Cancun and picked up two crew members Friday morning from a life raft, he said.

Meanwhile, a third ship reported the other three crew members were picked up by a Mexican Navy ship, but U.S. authorities were unable to confirm the rescue report, Johns said.

"The other three apparently were not able to make it into a life raft, although they do have life jackets on," he said.

Because of the confusion over their fate, two Coast Guard C-130 aircraft based in Clearwater searched a projected drift zone calculated from the sinking location, Johns said. A Key West-based cutter also was in the area.

The two crew members rescued by the tanker were identified as Tom Sellers of Niceville, Fla., and Cornelius Shillen of Antigua. The names of their shipmates have not been released.

The yacht, which left Key West Tuesday night, listed Tortola as its home port, Johns said.

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