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.

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US Coast Guard will still cancel search despite hull find

A US Navy warship helicopter crew located the overturned hull of the Cheeki Rafiki 1,000 miles offshore Massachusetts and within the US Coast Guard's search area, Friday.

The warship diverted to the location and deployed a boat crew and surface swimmer to assess the boat.

The surface swimmer confirmed the name on the ship was Cheeki Rafiki and went in the water to investigate further. The swimmer determined the boat's cabin was flooded and windows were shattered, contributing to the complete flooding inside.

The U.S. Coast Guard made an announcement 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.

– US Coastguard statement


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US Coastguard say a naval ship has found the hull of the missing Southampton yacht, Cheeki Rafiki

The US Coastguard says a US naval ship searching in the Atlantic has found the hull of the Southampton yacht, Cheeki Rafiki. They located the boat a week after the vessel and her four-man crew went missing on a voyage back from the Caribbean.

A Navy diver has confirmed the name of the yacht and has banged on the hull to see if anyone is inside. The cabin of the boat appeared to be flooded. They have not found the yacht's life raft.

Yachtsmen families: 'Our boys would stay positive and so will we'

Graham Male, father of James Male has said the families of the four yachtsmen missing in the Atlantic, remain positive despite the search nearing its end.

Graham Male speaking outside the Foreign Office after a meeting with officials. Credit: ITV News

Mr Male said: "All the families are staying very strong, although the search at some point is going to be suspended at this point the search is still happening so we've got to stay positive.

"We know our boys out there will be positive still and we need to stay strong and positive as they would be for us."

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Families of missing sailors 'still holding out hope'

The Foreign Office has released this statement on behalf of the families of the missing sailors:

The families of James Male, Andrew Bridge, Paul Goslin and Steve Warren still hold out much hope that their loved ones will be found soon. They have received so much support from the public and the yachting community, hearing endless stories of people that have survived many weeks and months in different circumstances at sea and have drawn much strength from this. They were obviously saddened to hear that the US Coast Guard will be suspending the search. But, they were prepared for the fact that this would have to happen.

They are meeting with the Foreign Office later on today, to talk about UK involvement and any other avenues that can be explored. Having spent the week getting to know each other better, along with hearing the endless accounts of survivors, the families are reassured that their men would work as an efficient and cohesive team. This gives them additional hope that they will still be found, as the US Coast Guard have found no evidence to the contrary.

– Families of the missing sailors on behalf of the Foreign Office


Colleagues 'devastated' over missing British yachtsman

Colleagues from the company that trained the four missing British yachtsmen said that while they are "devastated" that they have not been found, but added that they remain hopeful they will return home.

Contact with the Cheeki Rafiki yacht was lost on Friday. Credit: Press Association Images/Royal Yachting Association

A statement from Stormforce Coaching Team said: "We remain devastated that the four missing crew from the yacht Cheeki Rafiki, Andrew, James, Paul and Steve have still not been found.

"We remain hopeful that they will return home safely."

"We are focused on working with the relevant authorities in the UK and the US and our thoughts remain with Andrew, James, Paul and Steve and their families."

Families of yachtsmen to meet Foreign Office officials

The families of the missing British yachtsmen are to meet with representatives from the Foreign Office later today, ITV News understands.

Relatives also met Foreign Office officials yesterday. The sailors have been missing since May 16 while on their route back from Antigua back to the UK.

Families are to meet Foreign Office officials. Credit: PA

In other developments, US officials have said that the search will end today unless new leads are found. It is understood that an RAF Hercules, which has been assisting the search, will continue beyond the American operation.

Foreign Office: Decision to suspend search 'difficult'

Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson said he spoke to the families of the four missing sailors last night to inform them of the US coast guard's decision to suspend the search, saying it had gone "above and beyond" in its efforts to find them. He said:

I know that, despite there being no further sightings of the Cheeki Raffiki or its crew, any decision to suspend the search will be incredibly difficult and will only be taken after the most serious deliberation.

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