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Coast Guard ends search for 4 missing yacht racers

  • The Sockeye, a United States Coast Guard vessel backs away from Yerba Buena Island after refueling and heads back out to sea to search for four people missing off the Farallon Islands on Sunday, April 15, 2012, in San Francisco, Calif. One person died and four others remain missing after a 38-foot yacht ran aground while racing near the Farallon Islands on Saturday afternoon, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Two people were rescued from the rocks and a third from the water after the sailboat Low Speed Chase wrecked about 3 p.m. while competing in the Full Crew Farallons Race, a 58-nautical-mile contest starting and ending at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Chris Hanzlik said. The race circles the Farallon Islands, a rocky, uninhabited set of islands 27 miles outside the Golden Gate. (AP Photo/The Contra Costa Times, Susan Tripp Pollard)

SAN FRANCISCO — The search for four yacht crew members thrown from their boat during a weekend race off Northern California was indefinitely suspended, with the Coast Guard saying the "window of survivability" had passed.

The four were part of an eight-member crew racing around the Farallon Islands Saturday when their sailboat was hit by powerful waves that forced it onto rocks.

The body of one crew member was pulled from the water hours after the accident. The three remaining crew members were rescued.

Coast Guard Petty Officer Caleb Critchfield said the search was reluctantly halted at sundown Sunday and there were no plans to resume it, after aircraft and boats searched the ocean around the islands, about 27 miles from San Francisco, for more than 30 hours.

"There's a window of survivability and we searched well beyond that window," he told The Associated Press.

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