The US Coast Guard has confirmed it has suspended its search for the crew of Cheeki Rafiki.
A US Navy ship discovered the hull of the yacht on Friday night, and subsequent underwater imagery confirmed that the life raft was still onboard the vessel, indicating that it had not been deployed for emergency purposes.
US Coast Guard had indicated that search operations would be suspended at midnight local time on Friday (0300hrs BST on Saturday) unless new information or sightings suggested the crew would still be alive. With none of the developments indicating that to be the case, the search was suspended, and an RAF Hercules search due to have continued throughout Saturday will no longer take place. RYA CEO Sarah Treseder commented:
'It is extremely distressing that the two searches coordinated by the US Coast Guard have not found the missing four crew of the Cheeki Rafiki; Steve, Paul, James and Andrew.
'All at the RYA offer their most sincere condolences to the families and the friends of the missing crew in this most difficult of times.
'Our thanks go to the US Coast Guard, the UK authorities and government agencies with whom we have been in regular contact, as well as the merchant vessels involved in the search and the yachting community.
'Many yachts changed course to sail through the search area and those that were able joined in the search effort. It has been a powerful reflection of the spirit that binds the boating community.'