Search resumes for Cheeki Rafiki

Published on May 20th, 2014

(May 20, 2014) – The search for four British sailors missing in the Atlantic has resumed after it was called off on Sunday. Ministers said the US Coast Guard had agreed to continue searching after a request from the UK government.

The crew was delivering the Beneteau First 40.7 Cheeki Rafiki to the UK after it had competed in 2014 Antigua Sailing Week on April 26-May 2. The crew reported a leak on Thursday (May 15), and were diverting to the Azores, but contact was lost on Friday. A container ship reported on Saturday an upturned sail boat that fit the description, but was missing its keel.

The US Coast Guard, after more than two days of search efforts, had suspended the search for the crew on Sunday, May 18 at approximately 5:00 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the US Coast Guard said the “planning process” for the renewed rescue effort began Tuesday just after 07:30 EDT (12:30 BST).

“It’ll be coordinated by air and sea as before but the details are still being worked out,” she told BBC News.

She said she could not at this stage say why the search had resumed. The US Coast Guard had previously said it would only start searching again if new information came to light.

But Foreign Office Minister Hugh Robertson said on Tuesday afternoon the Foreign Office had been “impressing on them the need to continue the search” since the weekend.

“They’re human beings and they absolutely understand what is going through the minds of the families and the relatives of all those affected,” the minister said.

Earlier, the UK Coast Guard said it believed its US counterpart had previously done everything it could in the search before it had been suspended.

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