Fears mounting for British sailor lost in Pacific

The 35-year-old man was conscious and wearing a life jacket when he fell into 6ft (2 metre) seas in the early hours of this morning
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Rescuers are searching the Pacific Ocean for a British sailor who fell overboard almost 500 miles from land.

On Monday evening, the US Coast Guard confirmed that the 35-year-old man, who tumbled from his 38ft yacht at 11.30pm local time on Saturday, had still not been found.

Petty officer Eric Chandler said there was “no talk of suspending the search”. The man was reported to have been conscious and wearing a life jacket when he entered the water, and six separate searches using four US Navy helicopters were carried out on Monday.

Two Coast Guard HC-130 Hercules planes were also deployed to comb the location – said to be 2,000 miles west of the Hawaiian island of Oahu and 500 miles west of the remote Midway Atoll.

The man was accompanied by a British woman, who raised the alarm. She used a satellite phone to alert the Falmouth Coast Guard of her distress situation. British authorities then contacted the Honolulu Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, who diverted an American warship to successfully recover the woman.

Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman Fred Caygill said: “She was able to turn the vessel around but admitted to not being very experienced. They were headed for Hawaii and the yacht was registered in the Cayman Islands.”

Earlier, Mr Chandler said he did not know why the sailor fell overboard. He said that while the location of the incident was remote, it was not particularly unusual for the yacht to have been so far from shore at that time of day.

There were winds of 25mph and waves measuring 6ft at the time of the incident.