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Report: 'Structural weakness' blamed in fatal sailing accident

A yacht that capsized leaving four British sailors missing in the North Atlantic may have been affected by structural weaknesses, a new report said.

The Cheeki Rafiki crew had diverted the vessel after it began taking on water last May but contact was then lost.

Days later the hull of the 40-foot yacht was found with its life raft still on board. There was no sign of the crew, and they were never found.

The vessel might have been weakened by previous groundings and subsequent repairs, according to a report by Britain’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch.

The report said the cause remained "a matter of some speculation" in the absence of survivors and material evidence.

"However, it is concluded that Cheeki Rafiki capsized and inverted following a detachment of its keel," says the report. "In the absence of any apparent damage to the hull or rudder other than that directly associated with keel detachment, it is unlikely that the vessel had struck a submerged object.”

Click here for the full report by BBC News.