baja boaters

Story highlights

Family members say they'll remain hopeful as long as the search continues

The boat capsized Sunday in the Sea of Cortez

More than 40 people were aboard the tourist vessel

A search window is set to expire Thursday after 96 hours

For more on this story, see CNN affiliate

(CNN) – Relatives of seven Americans missing after a boat capsized off the coast of Mexico are seeking donations to help continue their rescue efforts past a search window set to expire Thursday.

Family members are urging crews to keep scouring the waters off the coast of Baja, California past 2 a.m. Thursday, when the search window closes – 96 hours after the boat capsized.

“There is evidence from previous ship wrecks that individuals can survive past the 96 hours,” California state Sen. Leland Yee said at a news conference Wednesday night.

One American was killed when the boat with more than 40 people aboard capsized early Sunday in the Sea of Cortez, near Isla San Luis, Mexico, authorities said.

So far, 19 American passengers have been rescued and all 16 crew members survived, authorities have said.

The group was on a fishing expedition when the boat capsized.

Favorable weather conditions have increased the likelihood of their survival, according to Frederick Han, whose father-in-law, Donald Lee, 52, is among the missing.

“If we know there are still people out there who are going to make the effort to search for them, then we maintain the hope that they’re going to be found,” Han said.

U.S. and Mexican officials are part of the search, as the boat was carrying citizens of both nations.

Han said relatives have urged U.S. authorities to play a greater role, and have been getting the word out about the situation online at

Family members also launched a Facebook page “Find Our Fathers” and a PayPal account for donations to help with the search rescue efforts.

U.S. authorities identified the American tourist who died as Leslie Yee.

In addition to Lee, the missing also include Albert Mein, Russell Bautista, Mark Dorland, Brian Wong, Gene J. Leong and Shawn Chaddock.

Fishermen in the area joined rescue officials Sunday and helped save several people.

Mike Kalicki, a fisherman who was part of the effort, held back tears as he recounted the rescues.

“It was nice to be able to help out,” Kalicki told CNN affiliate KGTV. “They look at us like saviors. We just helped them out. Later that evening, we all went to the beach and had a group hug.”

There were conflicting numbers on how many people were on the boat when it sank. Mexican authorities counted 43, while the Coast Guard put the number at 44.