RIPON — Adolph “Joseph” Beeler, 59, was due to return home today after surviving a charter fishing vessel that capsized at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the gulf waters of Baja California.
Beeler – known to family and friends as Joe – was one of 19 American fishermen and crew members to be rescued after spending 16 hours afloat Sunday in the aftermath of an electric storm that sunk their 115-foot pleasure boat.
Beeler’s wife Theresa said she talked to her husband by telephone Thursday morning as the survivors were about to be escorted in a caravan by U.S. Embassy officials across the Mexican-U.S border on their way back to Northern California.
She said before heading home to Ripon he had to go to the Bay Area where he had left his truck parked when he and his friends left for Mexico.
Beeler quoted her husband as having said he and his friends had only one minute to abandon the boat before it went over on its side claiming no “mayday” distress signal had been sent for help. She said they had scrambled to get off when they were hit by a second wave in the dark and windy stormy sea.
He told his wife the fishermen had not been warned of the oncoming storm and most were asleep when it hit.
Joe and his two friends were fortunate in getting into one of the vessel’s ponga boats and riding out the weather on Sunday until rescuers arrived on the scene. Others in the water clung to life vests and safety rings.
“They didn’t get in one day of fishing. They went out Saturday and spent all day Sunday in the water,” she said.
“I am fortunate I have a wonderful husband who is coming home to me,” she said.
Beeler is a self-employed land leveler in Ripon and a member of the Men’s Club at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church where he has donated countless hours serving that church. He is the oldest son of Adolph and Theresa Beeler.