Missing Antarctic yacht update: life raft found, ship still missing

Search and rescue teams discovered a life raft adrift in the Southern Ocean yesterday that they say is from the Berserk, a Norwegian-flagged yacht that went missing earlier in the week. The raft was spotted by a helicopter that had been combing the area the past few days, searching for clues as to the fate of the ship.

On Tuesday of this week, the Berserk was sailing just off the coast of Antarctica when storms brought high winds and heavy seas to the region. Officials were first alerted to trouble when the ship activated its emergency locator beacon, but due to the bad weather, rescue operations were not able to get underway for more than a day. Since then, all attempts to hail the missing ship have failed and the emergency beacon stopped transmitting its location. At the time of its disappearance, three crew members were believed to be onboard. Two others were located yesterday, alive and well, on the Antarctic continent itself.

The life raft was said to have a torn canopy and was missing its first aid kid and survival knife. Officials said that there were no indications that it was occupied at any point, so it is impossible to determine if someone used it to escape from a sinking ship or if it simply floated free on its own.

The search for the 14-meter long, steel hulled yacht continues today, but it seems increasingly unlikely that the Berserk, or her remaining crew, will be found alive.

[Photo credit: Barbara Viega]