Sailor search resumes after 200,000 sign petition

Friends and family of the sailors missing in the Atlantic at the Foreign and Commonwealth office. Picture: PA
Friends and family of the sailors missing in the Atlantic at the Foreign and Commonwealth office. Picture: PA
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The families of four British sailors missing in the Atlantic have been on an “emotional rollercoaster” but hopes are “much higher” after the US Coast Guard said it would resume its search.

Cressida Goslin, wife of Paul Goslin, described the resumption of the search in the Atlantic Ocean as “wonderful” as she prepared to meet foreign office minister Hugh Robertson before going to the US embassy.

Ms Goslin said the families had been ready to request a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron to ask him to apply pressure on US president Barack Obama after the Coast Guard called off their search but now do not need to.

She said: “It’s been a complete emotional rollercoaster, we’ve had discussions with the Foreign Office in the night even though the US wouldn’t budge and then we thought they would, and then they wouldn’t. We’re just really pleased. Hopes are still high.”

Ms Goslin admitted two days had been lost in the search but added that for some of that time the weather had been atrocious.

Meanwhile, yachtsman James Male’s father Graham Male said: “We don’t know actually what we’re being offered yet.

“We’ve got a collection of ideas of what we’re going to say, we’re going to see what they [at the US embassy] come up with.”

Relatives of the four men – captain Andrew Bridge, 22 and James Male, 23; Steve Warren, 52 and Paul Goslin, 56 – have been pleading with the US Coast Guard (USCG) to resume the search.

The crew of the 40ft Cheeki Rafiki ran into difficulties about 620 miles east of Cape Cod in Massachusetts last Thursday while returning to the UK from Antigua. Contact with the yacht was lost in the early hours of Friday when it diverted to the Azores.

The USCG, Canadian aircraft and three merchant vessels searched for them throughout Friday and Saturday but called off efforts on Sunday at 5am local time amid poor weather conditions.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “My thanks to the USCG, which has resumed its search.”

By last night almost 200,000 people had signed an online petition supporting the campaign to resume the search. Nicola Evans, Mr Bridge’s friend who started the petition, said the missing men have now been given a “fighting chance”.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the local MP for one of the missing men, had appealed to the USCG not to give up and entrepreneur and adventurer Sir Richard Branson called on vessels near the area to keep a lookout.

Some 4,000 square miles (10,360 sq km) were scanned for the vessel’s two GPS beacons until no more transmissions were received from the devices, which have a short battery life.

On Saturday, a cargo vessel which was helping with the search spotted and photographed an overturned hull which matched the description of the Cheeki Rafiki.

Yachtswoman Dame Ellen MacArthur, who twice broke the world record for fastest solo 
circumnavigation of the globe, said there was “every chance” that the sailors were still alive either inside the hull or in the life raft.