UK & World News

  • 21 May 2014, 9:31

Missing Yachtsmen: Coastguard Steps Up Search

The sister of one of the four sailors missing after their yacht capsized in the Atlantic Ocean believes there is every chance he will be found alive.

Kay Coombes, the sister of Steve Warren, also spoke of her relief that the search for the crew of the Cheeki Rafiki, which was returning to the UK from a regatta in Antigua, had resumed after a public campaign.

She was speaking as the US Coast Guard stepped up the hunt, which now involves four ships and three planes.

A further three vessels and an aircraft are en route to the search area, about 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

An RAF Hercules is also on its way to join the hunt.

Air crews on the scene have scoured a total of 2,878 square miles since the search resumed.

Speaking from Somerset, Ms Coombes told Sky News: "We are all sticking together at this point. We are amazed by the public support we have had.

"We are very thankful to the US Coast Guard that they have started searching again.

"We are being realistic about what's happening but we are still hopeful at this point.

"Knowing my brother like I do - he's very very strong, physically strong, mentally strong - there's every chance he's still alive.

"We also are realistic. All we can do is hope and pray, and keep everything crossed that we can that we have a positive outcome.

"People are out there now looking for them, so if they are out there there's a good chance they are going to be found now."

Mr Warren's daughter Laura Carpenter said: "Obviously we are so pleased the search is back on again now."

The RAF Hercules plane will begin combing the ocean on Thursday and will be able to search for up to four hours at a time.

Mr Warren, 52, Andrew Bridge, 22, James Male, 23, and Paul Goslin, 56, were on board the 40ft yacht when it ran into difficulties.

The US Coast Guard called off the search for them last weekend after two days, but the decision was reversed after more than 150,000 people signed an online petition.

A sailor who survived for five days after being shipwrecked in the mid-Atlantic told Sky News he believes the crew are still alive.

Rory Nugent told US Correspondent Amanda Walker: "I was declared dead twice by the US Coast Guard and the US Navy and eventually got apology letters from both.

"I think human nature and these guys' desire to live will keep them alive and keep them going."

The Cheeki Rafiki's crew had sent out locator beacons 1,000 miles east of Massachusetts and the Coast Guard estimated the survival time for the Britons was 20 hours after "the time of distress".

The capsized hull of a yacht was spotted by the crew of cargo ship Maersk Kure, which was assisting in the search.

But they did not attempt to climb down to the stricken vessel and insisted there were no signs of life on board and no life raft.