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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkNews Around the Republic of Mexico | December 2008 

Four Deaths in Cancun, Mexico's Top Beach Destination
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A passenger by the name of Jennifer Ellis-Seitz (photo) went overboard on a luxury cruise ship (Norwegian Pearl) near Cancun
Cancun, Mexico - Three people have drowned and one was killed in a boat accident over the past week at this Caribbean tourist resort, while Mexican rescue teams were participating in a search for a U.S. cruise ship passenger who is believed to have fallen overboard.

The first accident occurred Christmas Day in waters off the Cancun hotel zone, when an instructor drowned after being struck by a sail while giving a class to a Japanese tourist, police said.

Two other men subsequently drowned in waters off Cancun: one while trying to save his son, who had been pulled away from the shore by a strong tide; and another while swimming.

The fourth death occurred shortly after midday on Friday, when a tourist boat crash killed a Canadian-based Mexican tourist and injured four others. In a statement on the accident, the Red Cross said that an American tourist had been taken to a private hospital and was in stable condition.

Ricardo Portugal, the Red Cross director in Cancun, said there have been more accidents this year because tides have been stronger than usual and tourists are not heeding warnings about entering the water.

"Many are not respecting the red warning flags (and) if we consider that many go into the ocean intoxicated, after eating or even wearing jeans, the result is tragedy," he said.

Separately, Mexican and U.S. authorities were searching for a U.S. tourist, 36-year-old Jennifer Feitz, who has been missing since she presumably fell overboard on the night of Dec. 25 near Isla Mujeres, an island just off the coast from Cancun.

The report said the captain of the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship in which the woman was traveling issued a call for help after Feitz' family members reported her missing.

At the time of the alert call, the ship was at a spot 14 miles to the east of the tip of Cancun and, due to the direction and intensity of the currents, the search radius has been extended from that Mexican resort to Cuba and toward the east coast of the United States.

Mexican helicopters, plans and speedboats were being used in the search effort.

Four million visitors arrive each year in Cancun, which is Mexico's top Caribbean destination with about 150 hotels, more than 24,000 guestrooms and 380 restaurants.

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