Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Cheeki Rafiki deaths: White House 'ordered search resumption'

James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren, Paul Goslin Image copyright Handout
Image caption Yachting crew members James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin all died

The White House ordered the search for a yacht that capsized in the Atlantic should resume after it had been suspended, a court has heard.

James Male, Andrew Bridge, Steve Warren and Paul Goslin died when the Cheeki Rafiki capsized in May 2014.

Yacht manager Douglas Innes denies four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Jurors heard the US National Security Advisor intervened two days after the search had been called off.

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Image copyright US Navy/Reuters
Image caption The overturned hull of the Cheeki Rafiki was discovered by a US Navy warship east of Cape Cod

Giving evidence, Capt Anthony Popiel explained how the search was suspended on 18 May 2014 because by that point it was assessed there was no chance the four crewmen could have survived in the water.

He said an area of more than 4,000 nautical square miles had been covered in the first three days of searching after skipper Andrew Bridge's personal locator beacon had been activated.

He told the court: "We try to treat and search and rescue like a search for a member of our own family. Suspending a search is always the most difficult decision we have to make."

He said, following calls from the media and the UK Foreign Office, the White House National Security Advisor directed the search to continue on 20 May,

Mr Innes, 42, of Whitworth Crescent, Southampton, and his company, Stormforce Coaching, both deny failing to operate the yacht in a safe manner.

Skipper Mr Bridge, 22, from Farnham, Surrey, Mr Male, 22, from Romsey, Hampshire, Mr Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Mr Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset, died after the yacht lost its keel 700 miles off Nova Scotia, Canada.

The trial continues.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Douglas Innes denies four counts of manslaughter by gross negligence

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