U.S. Coast Guard Resumes High Seas Search for Missing Sailors

Rob Almeida
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May 20, 2014

The 1,000-foot motor vessel Maersk Kure located and captured an image of the capsized hull of what is presumed to be the 39-foot sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki, May 17, 2014. Photo via Maersk Kure

The U.S. Coast Guard has resumed its search for four sailors that disappeared in the North Atlantic Ocean last Friday after activating two of their emergency satellite locator beacons (EPIRBs).  The initial search lasted 53 hours and only an upturned hull was found by a passing containership, yet it was not positively identified as that of the Cheeki Rafiki, the missing Beneteau 40.7 sailboat.

The hull appeared to be missing its keel.

Over 100 hours have passed since receipt of the distress call, or five times the Coast Guard’s estimated survival time under the current weather conditions given the expected condition of the crew.

The worldwide sailing community has largely disagreed with the Coast Guard’s survival estimate and supported a petition this week to resume the search which has gained nearly 200,000 signatures.

Support was also shown from UK Prime Minister David Cameron who notes in a tweet, “My thanks to the US Coastguard, which has resumed its search for our missing yachtsmen.”

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