A member of the US Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous searches for
the sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki, about 1600km off Cape
Cod, Massachusetts. REUTERS/US Coast Guard
A US Navy helicopter crew has spotted a British yacht
that went missing a week ago but found no signs of its four
crew members, leaving a midnight deadline for suspending
searches for the men unchanged, officials said.
The missing men, all experienced sailors, ran into trouble as
they were returning to Britain from a sailing event in
Antigua in the Caribbean. They had reported that their
vessel, the Cheeki Rafiki, was taking on water, forcing them
to change course for the Azores.
On Friday (local time), a Navy search crew discovered the
overturned vessel about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) off the
Massachusetts coast, but they detected no sign of the crew,
the US Coast Guard said in a statement.
A Navy swimmer reached the 40-foot (12-meter) yacht, finding
its cabin flooded and windows shattered. The swimmer knocked
on the hull but heard no response, the statement said.
"The ability to locate that overturned hull, but still not be
able to find a life raft is indicative of how unlikely it is
that the life raft is still out there," said Lieutenant Joe
Klinker, a spokesman for the Coast Guard's 1st District,
which oversees Massachusetts waters.
Klinker said the search would be called off by midnight
Friday if there were no further developments to indicate the
missing sailors might still be found alive.
US authorities originally abandoned a search for the
ill-fated crew after two days due to treacherous conditions
but resumed the hunt on Tuesday after a request from the
British government and a public petition signed by over