BBC News – Cheeki Rafiki: Missing yacht skipper’s mother ‘numb’



Mary Bridge

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Mary Bridge, mother of skipper Andrew: “I’m a bit numb actually”

The mother of Andrew Bridge, skipper of the four-man British crew missing since their yacht capsized in the Atlantic Ocean, has said she feels numb.

Mary Bridge joined other family members and friends of the men in urging the US Coastguard to resume its search.

The Cheeki Rafiki ran into difficulties late last week about 1,000 miles (1,600km) off Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

The sailors’ families have said the men would have escaped in a life raft.

The four crew members are Mr Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey, the yacht’s skipper; Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset; Steve Warren, 52, also from Somerset, and 23-year-old James Male, from Southampton, the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has said.

They were sailing the 40ft yacht back to the UK from a regatta in Antigua but diverted towards the Azores on Thursday when it started taking on water.

Map showing search area for yachtThe search took place over more than 4,100 square miles in the mid-Atlantic

Nothing has been heard from them since Friday. The US Coastguard-led air and sea search for the men was called off on Sunday.

Mrs Bridge told the BBC: “I’m a bit numb actually. We wanted him back.

“We know they’ve worked hard for two days but my husband and I and my other son and the other families all wish them to resume the search for these four men.”

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If no one is looking for them, they won’t be found”

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Kay Coombes
Sister of Steve Warren

Claire Goslin, daughter of Mr Goslin, said: “They had plenty of time to prepare the raft when they knew they were sinking and my dad would have done everything he could to get them all on the life raft.

“My dad has been sailing for years and he will know everything he has to do in the situation.”

Mr Goslin’s wife Cressida said the search should be resumed for a couple of days, adding: “We just feel that they’re not being given a chance.

“If we don’t try to rescue them we’re just going to leave them to starve to death.”

Provisions for days

The RYA said typical supplies on a life raft would include survival suits, water, food, flares and a first aid kit.

Three US and Canadian aircraft and three merchant vessels looked for the men on Friday and Saturday.

On Saturday, a cargo vessel which was helping with the search spotted and photographed an overturned hull which matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki but reported no signs of people on board or a life raft.

US Coastguard spokesman Rob Simpson told the BBC on Sunday rescuers had “saturated the area” in a two-day search and “would have found them” if it had been possible.



James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin (l-r) are all experienced yachtsmen

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Father of skipper Andrew Bridge: “We all think they’re in the life raft”

The yachtsman and four-time Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie joined calls for the US coastguard to continue the search, while an online petition has gathered more than 13,000 signatures.

Meanwhile Kay Coombes, sister of missing Mr Warren, said: “They are four strong-minded, physically strong sailors, they knew they were in difficulties and had every opportunity to get into the life raft which would have had provisions for several days.

“But if no-one is looking for them, they won’t be found.”

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said it was aware of the missing yacht: “We are in continual contact with the US Coastguard and are providing consular assistance to the families.”

19 May 2014 | 2:18 pm – Source: bbc.co.uk
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