Coast Guard suspends search for missing sailors 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod

1st Coast Guard District News
BOSTON — The Coast Guard has suspended its active search, pending further developments, for four sailors 1,000 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, at 5 a.m. Sunday.

Watchstanders from the 1st Coast Guard District command center in Boston were notified at approximately 12:30 a.m., Friday, of two 406MHz personal locator beacons registered to the 39-foot U.K.-flagged sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki.

The Cheeki Rafiki’s agent in the U.K. also told the U.S. Coast Guard the last message they received from the crew on Friday stated they were taking on water with four people on board.

Multiple crews from numerous nation’s military branches and commercial vessels searched approximately 4,146 square miles for them.

At approximately 12 p.m. Saturday, the crew from the 1,000-foot motor vessel Maersk Kure located an overturned hull that matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki, but no sign of the sailors.

Searching were crews from:

  • A U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, North Carolina, HC-130 Hercules aircraft
  • A U.S. Air Force C-130 aircraft, from Moody Air Force Base, in Valdosta, Georgia
  • A Canadian air national guard C-130 aircraft
  • The 600-foot motor vessel Teesta Spirit
  • The 652-foot motor vessel Georgia Highway
  • The 1,000-foot motor vessel Maersk Kure

“We appreciate the assistance of the U.S. Air Force, Canadian and the three merchant vessels helping us to conduct a thorough search so far from shore,” said Capt. Anthony Popiel, 1st Coast Guard District Chief of Response. “We are extremely disappointed that we were not able to locate the sailors during the course of this extensive search. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families during this difficult time.”

Weather on scene was 30-knot winds and 13 to 15-foot seas.

The 1st Coast Guard District covers from New Jersey to Canada with search and rescue duties extending approximately 1,300 miles from shore. Units across the Northeast conduct more than 2,500 search and rescue cases in a year, and rescue more than 300 people.

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