LONDON May 19 The families of four British
sailors missing since their yacht capsized in the Atlantic Ocean
three days ago appealed to the U.S. Coast Guard on Monday to
resume its search.
Last contact with the missing yacht, Cheeki Rafiki, was on
Friday after it ran into difficulties about 1,000 miles (1,600
kms) off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, while returning to Britain
from a sailing event in Antigua in the Caribbean.
A search was called off on Sunday after two days as the U.S.
Coast Guard said it did not have the capability to support a
The missing men were named as 21-year-old captain Andrew
Bridge along with Steve Warren, 52, Paul Goslin, 56 and James
Male, 23. All four were described as experienced sailors.
Calling for the search to continue, Warren's sister Kay
Coombes said she believed the men would have escaped in a life
raft after the crew reported that the yacht had started to take
on water somewhere between Bermuda and the Azores.
"We appreciate everything that the U.S. Coast Guard and the
Canadian coastguard have already done but we would just like
them to search a little bit longer," Coombes told the BBC.
The search for the 40-foot (12 metres) yacht covered over
4,000 square miles (12,300 square kms) and was supported by the
U.S. and Canadian air forces, the U.S. Coast Guard said in a
statement on its website.
"We are extremely disappointed that we were not able to
locate the sailors during the course of this extensive search,"
Captain Anthony Popiel said in the statement.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families during
this difficult time."
An online petition calling on U.S. authorities and British
Foreign Secretary William Hague to restart the search had
attracted over 9,000 signatures by Monday morning.
A spokesman from Britain's foreign office said they were in
contact with the U.S Coast Guard and had offered assistance to
the missing men's families.
(Reporting by Jack Stubbs, Editing by Belinda Goldsmith/Jeremy