Coast Guard Suspends Search for Missing Sailors
May 19, 2014
The Coast Guard has suspended the international search for the 4-person crew of the sailing vessel Cheeki Rafiki after more than 2 days of search efforts. After learning of the vessel’s distress at 12:30 a.m. on Friday, May 16, watchstanders at the 1st Coast Guard District immediately began coordinating efforts by air and sea to locate the crew.
The locator beacons activated by the crew indicated they were some 1,000 miles east of Massachusetts as of Friday morning. Seas were 15’ with winds surpassing 50 knots. The air temperature was 59 degrees and the water was 60 degrees. Based on the extreme conditions at sea, but assuming best-case emergency equipment, the estimated survival time past the time of distress was approximately 20 hours. Crews searched for 53 hours.
Air crews from North Carolina, Georgia and Canada searched an area of more than 4,000 square miles and worked with commercial liners who volunteered to assist. At approximately noon, Saturday, the crew of the 1,000’ Maersk Kure located an overturned hull that matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki, but could not find any sign of the sailors.