TUXTLA, Mexico (AP) _ A fishing boat carrying at least 20 illegal Central American immigrants was believed to have sunk off the coast of the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, leaving at least seven people dead and eight missing.

Five people survived the shipwreck, which happened Tuesday evening in the coastal town of Suchiate, according to the Puerto Madero harbormaster's office.

The bodies of six men and one woman were recovered Wednesday. Survivors told authorities the boat had set sail from Puerto de Cos in Guatemala and that the immigrants apparently were headed to the United States in search of work.

Officials had not found the boat and did not know the cause of the accident. They believe the boat sank off the coast.

A search was continuing for the eight still missing.