Relatives of four British sailors missing at sea have made a heartfelt plea for rescuers to resume their search in the Atlantic Ocean.
Speaking to Sky News, family members of the sailors say they believe their loved ones are still alive and that the US Coastguard should not have abandoned its rescue mission.
The crew was returning from Antigua Sailing Week in the 40ft yacht when it ran into difficulties 620 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on Thursday.
Contact with Andrew Bridge, 21, James Male, 23, Steve Warren, 52, and Paul Goslin, 56, was lost in the early hours of Friday while they were diverting to the Azores.
Mr Bridge’s aunt, Georgina Bridge, said her nephew was the captain of the yacht, named the Cheeki Rafiki.
She told Sky News the sailor’s family remains hopeful that the crew will be found alive.
“Obviously the family are really concerned that the search has been suspended and we are really hoping that it will be resumed,” she said.
“We are holding out great hope that Andrew and the guys on board Cheeki Rafiki will be found.
“We are hopeful that they were able to launch a life raft and that they are still on board that, so we would just really like the search to be resumed.”
Speaking to The Times newspaper, Mr Male’s father Graham Male said: “We just want them to continue searching.”
US and Canadian aircraft searched for the missing crew on Friday and Saturday, with help from three merchant vessels.
The search was called off on Sunday amid treacherous weather conditions.
A US Coastguard spokesman said the crews searched more than 4,000 square miles of the ocean for pings from the vessel’s personal locator beacons.
“After receiving no more transmissions we believe that we would have found them by now if we were going to find them.
“These beacons are small devices and the ones being used have a very short battery life.”
Mr Bridge, from Farnham in Surrey, was being paid by the Southampton-based yacht training and charter company Stormforce Coaching for his role as captain, a spokeswoman for the firm said.
Stormforce director Doug Innes said that the yacht had first started taking on water on Thursday, but the skipper was in contact and the crew were keeping the situation stable.
“Although the search efforts co-ordinated by Boston were exceptional we are devastated that the search has now been called off so soon,” Mr Innes said.
“Our thoughts are with the four yachtsmen and their families and we hope and pray for them all.”
19 May 2014 | 6:00 am – Source: orange.co.uk