Nate nearly a hurricane; crew missing

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico – Air and sea search teams intensified their hunt Saturday for 10 missing oil workers as Tropical Storm Nate headed west, threatening new areas of Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Nate was expected to become a hurricane before making landfall later today, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said late Saturday.

Meanwhile, fishermen groups reported that at least a dozen of their colleagues aboard two Mexican shrimp boats went missing in the gulf Friday.

Helicopters from the Mexican navy and the state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, left ports along the coast of Tabasco state to scour the sea, while other crews searched the beaches closest to the spot where the 10 oil workers abandoned their disabled lifeboat for an enclosed life raft in the storm about midday Thursday.

By Saturday afternoon, authorities said they still had found no sign of the workers, who were employees of Houston-based Geokinetics Inc. and who called for help Thursday afternoon.


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