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Missing yacht: US Coast Guard agrees to resume search 'imminently'

Authorities have agreed to continue the search after it was called off on Sunday

Authorities have agreed to resume the search for four missing British sailors, hours after a petition urging the US coastguard to continue looking for the missing crew reached over 175,000 signatures.

The experienced crew, aged between 22 and 56, were in a 40ft yacht called the Cheeki Rafiki when it capsized in the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday.

The US coastguard called off search efforts involving ships, planes and helicopters on Sunday morning in severe weather, to the dismay of the men’s families.

Relatives of the four men - experienced captain Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey and crew members James Male, 23, from Southampton, Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater and Paul Goslin, from West Camel, 56 - have pleaded with the US Coast Guard to resume the search and remain convinced that their loved ones are alive.

Today, US Coast Guard petty officer Jennifer Robertson confirmed the search has resumed. The families of the missing sailors travelled to London to meet Foreign Minister Hugh Robertson this afternoon.

Mr Bridge's grandmother Valerie said the family is "delighted" at the news. "It is at least something and that is all we were asking for, all we wanted was another search," she added.

"It might not come to anything but people want them to do it and they are trying. It seemed too quick, just two days and we were saying 'if only they could do it (search) for a bit longer'. You never know what could happen."

Prime Minister David Cameron said this afternoon: "My thanks to the US Coastguard, which has resumed its search for our missing yachtsmen."

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 but reported no signs of people on board or a life raft.

Dan Carpenter, son-in-law of Steve Warren, one of the missing men, said: "We are holding out hope. We are aware that it is still a long shot but while there is some hope, we are concentrating on that."