Hull of British yacht found but no sign of missing crew

A crew member of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Vigorous searches for crew members of the sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki, about 1,000 miles off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in this U.S. Coast Guard handout photo taken May 22, 2014 . Four yachtsmen went missing a week ago as they were returning to Britain from a sailing event in Antigua in the Caribbean and reported that their vessel, the Cheeki Rafiki, was taking on water, forcing them to change course for the Azores. The search for the sailors will be called off by midnight on Friday if no sign of the men is found, British and U.S. authorities said.


BOSTON - A U.S. Navy warship has located the overturned hull of a British yacht that went missing last week 1,000 miles off the Massachusetts coast, hours before the official deadline for the end of the search.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Robert Simpson said a helicopter from the warship spotted the hull Friday and a small boat crew confirmed it bore the name of the 40-foot Cheeki Rafiki. The hull had previously been spotted by a commercial vessel last Saturday.

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.

An undated handout file photo issued by the Royal Yachting Association on Monday May 19, 2014, shows the missing yacht Cheeki Rafiki
AP Photo/Royal Yachting Association/PA

Simpson said the search for the ship's four crew members continues, but that the midnight 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.

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

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.