Yacht hull found but search for crew's raft continues
The US Navy has found the hull of the missing yacht Cheeki Rafiki – though there is no sign of the four-strong British crew on board the flooded vessel, the US Coast Guard (USCG) said last night.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said the families of experienced captain Andrew Bridge (22) from Farnham in Surrey, and crew members James Male (23) from Southampton, Steve Warren (52) from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Paul Goslin (56) from West Camel, Somerset, are being kept informed of developments.
USCG said a US navy warship helicopter crew discovered the overturned hull 1,000 miles off Massachusetts.
A coastguard spokesman said: "The swimmer determined the boat's cabin was flooded and windows were shattered, contributing to the complete flooding.
"The swimmer also knocked on the hull and reached an arm's length below the waterline with no results. Surface swimmers are not trained divers and do not perform sub-surface operations."
Officials said the coastguard still intended to call off the search as the latest development failed to suggest the crew would still be alive.
"The hull sighting has not impacted search planning as teams continue to look for a bright-coloured life raft as their search object. The US Coast Guard made an announcement, Thursday, that search operations would be suspended at midnight Friday unless new information or sightings suggested the crew would still be alive. None of the current developments indicate that to be the case."
A Foreign Office spokesman said: "The US navy has informed us it has located the hull of the Cheeki Rafiki.
"We have informed the families and remain in close contact with them and with the USCG who continue to lead the search operation."