35 years ago today, the “High Ball IV” private yacht with 9 people vanished off the coast of Yucatan

Mario Esquivel Ríos shows the edition of the Diary on the disappearance of "High Ball IV". Photo: (Yucatan.com.mx)

PROGRESO, (September 10, 2021).- Friday, September 10th, marks the 35th anniversary of the disappearance of the “High Ball IV” yacht with eight members of the Rotary Club of Mérida and a sailor from Chicxulub Puerto.

Mario Esquivel Ríos, president of the Association of Marine Aquatic Services of Yucatán, will present the story of the event, which shook the local nautical tourism and the fishing sector, on Monday the 13th at 8 at night in a session of the Rotary Club in Mérida which will be broadcast live on Facebook and which will be held at the club’s social premises, property 399 on 31-B street between 28 and 30 in the Adolfo López Mateos neighborhood.

On Wednesday, September 10, 1986, the weather was splendid, ideal for sailing on the high seas, no one imagined the maritime tragedy that captured Yucatecan attention and gave rise to an impressive search operation by sea, air and land, with unsuccessful results.

On Wednesday, September 10, at 6 am, from the marina “Villa Dorada” the Sea-Bird type yacht “High Ball IV”, 28 feet in length, with two stationary gasoline engines, set sail with nine crew members.

It was a trip for recreational fishing and to celebrate the president of the Rotary Club, who was on his way out of the board.

Esquivel Ríos recalls that the Rotarians Iván Rosado, Miguel García, Rafael Cervera Ortiz, their son Rafael Cervera Pérez, Francisco Góngora, Raúl Domínguez, Miguel Portillo and Alonzo Hernández traveled aboard the “High Ball IV”, as well as the sailor Ángel Pérez Espadas , 27 years old.

Se cumplen 30 años de la desaparición del yate High Ball IV, frente a  Progreso - ProgresoHoy
Photo: (Progreso Hoy)

The “High Ball IV” was owned by Cervera Ortiz.

Miguel Portillo was going to replace Iván Rosado as president of the Rotary Club, says Esquivel Ríos, then owner of “Villa Dorada”.

The yacht went to the point known as 3-30, which is located to the west of the Yucalpetén shelter and is a favorite of sport fishing enthusiasts.

But it did not return at the scheduled time, between 3 and 4 in the afternoon of the same day.

Desperate and distraught, the family members of Rotarians began to find out what had happened.

First they thought that the yacht had broken down at sea, was adrift and the sea currents carried it away from the coast.

That same night the search for the yacht began, the next day they were already being searched by sea, air and land.

Several boats “brushed” the area where the “High Ball IV” was presumed to have sailed and the west coast was traveled on foot.

But neither the yacht nor its crew were found, and today, 35 years later the whereabouts of the “High Ball IV” are still a mistery.

As the owner of the marina from where the yacht sailed, Esquivel Ríos was commissioned by Governor Víctor Cervera Pacheco to coordinate the search for the ship, thus he learned about everything that was done for that purpose.

Many stories and speculations were woven around the disappearance of “High Ball IV”, says Esquivel Ríos. It was said that they kidnapped the crew with everything and a yacht, that they murdered them and sank the boat so that they would not be found, and that they were refugees abroad, some in Cuba and others in Miami, Florida. However, these were nothing but speculations.

The Yucatan Times
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The Yucatan Times
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