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Yacht disaster may have been caused by structural weakness

An official report into the deaths of four British sailors in the Atlantic says the accident may have been caused by structural weakening of the vessel, caused by previous groundings and repairs.

The Cheeki Rafiki Credit: Royal Yachting Association/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The four men lost in the May 2014 disaster were captain Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey, and crew members James Male, 22, from Southampton; Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset; and Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset. They had been taking part in a regatta in Antigua and were sailing back to Southampton when their vessel capsized approximately 720 miles east-south-east of Nova Scotia in Canada on May 16.

The sailors: (left to right) Paul Goslin, James Male, Steve Warren and Andrew Bridge Credit: Royal Yachting Association/PA Archive/Press Association Images

One or more keel bolts on the yacht may have deteriorated and it was "probable that the crew were fatigued and their performance was impaired accordingly", the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report also said. But MAIB concluded: "In the absence of survivors and material evidence, the causes of the accident remain a matter of some speculation."

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