US Coast Guard: Missing British yacht’s hull found

Briatin Missing Yacht

BOSTON (AP) — A U.S. Navy warship located the overturned hull of a British yacht Friday that went missing last week 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) off the Massachusetts shore.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Simpson said a helicopter from the warship spotted the hull, which had previously been spotted by a commercial vessel last Saturday. The small boat crew reached the hull and confirmed it bore the name of the 40-foot (12-meter) Cheeki Rafiki.

A Navy swimmer found the boat’s cabin was completely flooded and its windows shattered. Simpson said the swimmer also knocked on the hull and reached below the waterline with no results.

Simpson said the search for the ship’s four crew members continues, but that the 10 p.m. (0500 GMT) deadline for suspending the search remains in effect. He said crews are searching for a bright-colored life raft. The Coast Guard said Thursday that the search would only be extended beyond midnight if sightings suggest that crew members are still alive.

Officials say the British government and the families of the lost sailors are aware of the Coast Guard’s plans.

American, British and Canadian rescuers had been searching for the Cheeki Rafiki since contact with the crew — which included 22-year-old captain Andrew Bridge and crew members James Male, 23, Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56 — was lost Friday, May 16.

The yacht had been returning to England from a regatta in Antigua when it reported trouble last Thursday.

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