Missing yacht crew 'may have abandoned to life raft'

Four Britons missing after their yacht capsized in the mid-Atlantic may have abandoned the vessel and used a life raft, a yacht charter firm said.

Stormforce Coaching director Doug Innes said:

The yacht Cheeki Rafiki was on passage from the Caribbean to the UK with a crew of four yachtsmen. On Thursday she started taking on water.

We were in contact with the skipper and at the time the yacht and crew were keeping the situation stable.

They had not been able to ascertain where the water ingress was from and were diverting to the Azores.

Unfortunately we lost contact during the early hours of Friday morning and we believe it is possible the crew abandoned to the life raft.

Search and Rescue authorities were mobilised and a mixture of Canadian and US aircraft along with merchant vessels searched throughout Friday and Saturday.

Although the search efforts co-ordinated by Boston were exceptional we are devastated that the search has now been called off so soon.

Our thoughts are with the four yachtsmen and their families and we hope and pray for them all.

– Stormforce director Doug Innes

Advertisement

US Coast Guard urged to return and look for yachtsmen

The US Coast Guard was facing calls last night to return to the doomed British yacht Cheeki Rafiki, to check whether the bodies of any of its four crew members were trapped inside. The coastguard located the boat a week after the vessel went missing.