Friday 20 October 2017

Missing yacht: Family urge US coastguard to continue search for missing yachtsmen in mid-Atlantic Ocean

Paul Gosling, James Male, Steve Warren and Andrew Bridge who remain missing after the yacht 'Cheeki Rafiki' they were sailing to the UK in from a regatta in the Caribbean capsized in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Royal Yachting Association/PA Wire
Paul Gosling, James Male, Steve Warren and Andrew Bridge who remain missing after the yacht 'Cheeki Rafiki' they were sailing to the UK in from a regatta in the Caribbean capsized in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Royal Yachting Association/PA Wire
The Cheeki Rafiki yacht which capsized in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Photo: Royal Yachting Association/PA Wire

The family and colleagues of four British men who went missing when the yacht they were aboard capsized in the mid-Atlantic Ocean, have urged the American authorities to re-launch their search operation.

The US Coast Guard stopped searching for the sailors despite suggestions that they could still be alive in a life raft or trapped inside the boat’s upturned hull.

The 39ft racing yacht, Cheeki Rafiki, began taking on water in the mid-Atlantic on Thursday while returning from Antigua Sailing Week in the Caribbean and contact was lost with the crew on Friday.

US and Canadian aircraft, assisted by three merchant vessels, looked for the men throughout Friday and Saturday, but called off the search on Sunday at 5am local time, amid treacherous weather conditions.

Some 4,000 square miles were scanned for the "very well-equipped" vessel's two personal location GPS beacons until no more transmissions were received from the small devices, which have a short battery life.

A passing container ship, the Maersk Kure, spotted a capsized vessel that matched the boat’s description on Saturday about 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but did not stop to inspect it because nobody was seen on board.

Petty Officer Rob Simpson of the US Coastguard claimed that the ship "lacked the manoeuvrability, capacity and ability to help".

The missing men, Paul  Goslin, 56, Steve Warren, 52, both from Somerset, James Male, 23, from Southampton, and Andrew Bridge, 21, from Farnham, Surrey,  were all described as experienced sailors.

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Speaking to The Times, Mr Male's father Graham Male said: "We just want them to continue searching."

Mr Bridge’s aunt, Georgina Bridge, told Sky News: “Obviously the family are really concerned that the search has been suspended and we are really hoping that it will be resumed.

 

Independent News Service

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