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US Coast Guard- Please resume search for British sailors in life raft

by Sail-World Cruising on 20 May 2014
Four missing sailors in a life raft SW
Why has the search for four British sailors who took to their life raft this week been called off after only 48 hours? Why has the US Coast Guard not answered Sail-World's questions? We ask you to please sign the petition to the US Coast Guard to either re-commence the search or share any information to explain why they called it off so quickly.

As history has told time and time again, survivors can last many days and weeks - even months - in a life raft at sea, yet the US Coastguard inexplicably called off the search very soon after a merchant ship found what appeared to be the wreckage of the yacht Cheeki Rafiki, which had been on its way from Antigua to Europe.

The vessel ran into difficulties late last week while crossing the Atlantic about 1000 miles off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, but despite an upturned hull being spotted in the water and the sailors having a life raft and survival equipment, the search was called off on Sunday.

The crew members have been named as skipper Andrew Bridge, 21, Paul Goslin, 56, James Male, 23 and Steve Warren, 52.

An online petition has been launched to persuade the US Coastguard to resume the search: https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/u-s-coastguard-restart-the-search-for-the-missing-cheekirafiki-crew-dontstopsearching

The story:
The Beneteau First 40.7 Cheeki Rafiki, with four British sailors onboard, set off its EPIRB on a delivery passage from Antigua to Europe, after earlier reporting she was taking on water. It is believed the yacht may have been sinking rapidly and the crew took to the life raft, Southampton charter firm Stormforce Coaching said.

It is reported that two consecutive signals were picked up from personal beacons indicating that they had made it to the life raft.

US and Canadian aircraft looked for them on Friday and Saturday but have now called off the search. A short U.S. Coast Guard search ensued but was called off.

Here is a statement from Doug Innes, Principal and Director, Southhampton based charter firm Stormforce Coaching.

'The yacht Cheeki Rafiki, a Beneteau First 40.7 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 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 been called off so soon after the abandonment to a life-raft.

Mr Goslin is from West Camel, Somerset, while Mr Warren is from Bridgwater, also from Somerset. Mr Male is from Southampton and Mr Bridge is from Farnham, Surrey.

Please click the link to urge the Coast Guard to resume searching.



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