British yacht hull found in Atlantic; crew of 4 still missing

(CNN) -- A missing British yacht was found overturned with its keel broken, causing a breech in the hull, about 1,000 miles off Massachusetts, but the four-man crew is still missing, the U.S. Coast Guard said Friday.

A U.S. Navy helicopter spotted the capsized the 39-foot Cheeki Rafiki sailboat within a Coast Guard search area east of Cape Cod, officials said.

A Navy boat crew and surface swimmer assessed the damaged boat, but the swimmer found no signs of the crew after knocking on the hull and reaching below the waterline, the Coast Guard said.

Search crews continued looking Friday for a bright-colored life raft and the missing sailors, who the Royal Yachting Association identified as skipper Andrew Bridge, 21; Steve Warren, 52; Paul Goslin, 56; and James Male, 23.

The Coast Guard will suspend the search at 10 p.m. ET Friday unless it receives information the crew might still be alive.

"None of the current developments indicate that to be the case," the Coast Guard said in an announcement, of which CNN learned on Twitter.

The four British sailors have been missing in the Atlantic Ocean since late last week.

The 39-foot (12 meters) Cheeki Rafiki was sailing from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom on May 15 when it began taking on water, according to the yacht's managing agent.

"Unfortunately, we lost contact during the early hours of Friday morning, and we believe the crew abandoned to the life raft," Doug Innes said in a statement on Sunday.

Innes describes the Cheeki Rafiki as "a performance racer/cruiser and suitable for both the inshore and offshore circuit" and the boat is "equipped for trans-Atlantic sailing and racing."


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