Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Sailors

coast guard helicopterBOSTON – The Coast Guard suspended the search for the four sailors from the British sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki who went missing 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod on May 16.

The search was officially called off at 10 p.m. Friday with crews leaving the search area at midnight.

“It is with sincere compassion for the families of these four men that our thoughts and prayers are with them all during this difficult time,” said Capt. Anthony Popiel, 1st U.S. Coast Guard District Chief of Response. “The U.S. Coast Guard is always hopeful, and makes the utmost efforts to find and rescue those in peril.”

This was the second time the Coast Guard has called off the search.

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At the request of the British Government, the search resumed Tuesday at 7:38 a.m. after the Coast Guard called off the search last Sunday.

Searches were suspended almost 200 hours after the time of distress.

The estimated survival time past the time of distress based on the extreme sea conditions was approximately 20 hours.

Rescue crews searched a total of 25,000 square miles of area in the Atlantic Ocean and Watchstanders from the 1st Coat Guard District command center developed search patterns using currents and weather information while working non-stop.

A Navy warship relocated the overturned vessel earlier Friday and confirmed the boat’s life raft was secured in its storage space in the boat and was not used by the missing crew.

Multiple crews from military branches around the globe canvased the area along with commercial vessels without a sign of the sailors.

A combination of 17 aircraft and ships were involved in the search.

“We have the greatest appreciation for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force for working with us alongside the militaries of Canada and the United Kingdom during this massive search effort,” Popiel said.