Britain sends military plane to help search for missing sailors

LONDON Wed May 21, 2014 5:43am EDT

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LONDON May 21 (Reuters) - Britain has sent a military plane to help U.S. authorities in the hunt for four British yachtsmen missing in the Atlantic Ocean, the Ministry of Defence said on Wednesday.

The sailors on board the yacht Cheeki Rafiki went missing on Friday as they were returning to Britain from a sailing event in Antigua in the Caribbean. They reported that the vessel was taking on water, forcing them to change course to head to the Azores.

Britain said a Hercules military transport aircraft had been deployed to join the international search, which was resumed on Tuesday after a public appeal backed by UK politicians.

"The Royal Air Force's contribution to the search operation ... will provide additional capability and resilience to the resumed search led by US and Canadian forces," Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan)

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