The Mexican navy has reported the discovery of four more boats at the bottom of Acapulco Bay, bringing the total number of sunken vessels to 33 following the impact of Hurricane Otis on the resort city.
The boats are believed to have contributed to the hurricane-related deaths, as many crews are missing and were apparently on board when the Category 5 storm hit. The confirmed death toll currently stands at 47, including three foreign residents.
Navy Secretary José Rafael Ojeda stated that a ship with a crane has arrived, and search teams hope to begin lifting the boats to the surface soon to check for victims.
With only one crane operational, the process of lifting the boats to the surface could take weeks, leading to a potentially prolonged wait for relatives of the missing crew members.
On Monday, a small group of relatives staged a demonstration in Acapulco, urging authorities to expedite the search efforts.
Abigail Andrade Rodríguez, one of four crew members aboard the rental boat Litos, has yet to be found. Her family remains hopeful of her discovery.
Acapulco is recognized for its mix of expensive yachts and affordable tour boats that cater to tourists.
Prior hurricanes in Acapulco primarily resulted in casualties due to land flooding, but Hurricane Otis appears to have caused a significant number of deaths at sea. Local residents have indicated that some crews were instructed to stay on board to guard their vessels.
While the official death toll stands at 47, with 54 people listed as missing, a local business chamber leader has suggested that the number of missing or deceased at sea could be as high as 120.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador expressed concerns that the opposition is seeking to inflate the death toll for political purposes, although it is anticipated to continue rising as hundreds of families await news about their loved ones.
The federal civil defense agency noted damage to 220,000 homes caused by the hurricane, which also affected numerous hotels and thousands of households.
Efforts to restore power in Acapulco have faced challenges due to the remote locations of some downed power poles and towers, as well as the surrounding squatter communities.