DEBRIS FOUND in the area of the Atlantic Ocean where UK yacht the Cheeki Rafiki went missing does not belong to the stricken vessel, the US Coast Guard has said.
The crew of a catamaran reported seeing a plank and a piece of foam in the search area.
But the US Coast Guard has now ruled out any connection with the British boat.
First Coast Guard District Chief of Response Captain Anthony Popiel said: “Our search assets have found a variety of debris and trash during their searches. The key part is correlating these objects to the search effort.
“We take reports of debris very seriously and, at this time, no debris or objects reported during this search correlate to the Cheeki Rafiki.”
The search for the missing crew was resumed on Tuesday afternoon following a public outcry, but despite combing 12,000 square miles of ocean, rescue teams have had no sighting of the life raft.
Relatives of the men said the operation was being boosted by additional air support and seven aircraft would be searching for the 40ft yacht.
The British sailors got into trouble as they were sailing back to the UK from an Antigua regatta and started taking on water 620 miles east of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, last Thursday.
The four men on board – experienced captain Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, and crew members James Male, 23, from Southampton, Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset – have not been seen or heard from since the early hours of Friday morning. Relatives of all four men met Foreign Office officials in London yesterday.
Meanwhile, two fishermen feared lost at sea have said they got through their two-day ordeal on a small flask of tea and a couple of biscuits.
James Reid, 75, and his grandson David Irvine, 35, returned to shore yesterday after their “miracle” discovery by another boat off the Aberdeenshire coast.
The men, from Inverbervie, were found more than 40 miles off course after thick fog meant they became “completely lost”.