Two Americans have been missing for more than a week, after having sailed from the USA to the Azores archipelago. Yanni Nikopoulos and Dale Jones, both 65, were sailing when they were hit by a storm on June 13 and have not been in contact with their families since, according to a report by CNN Portugal.
On June 8, the couple left the Hampton marina, in the US state of Virginia, bound for the Portuguese archipelago. Dale Jones' daughter told the Washington Post that, on June 13, her mother told her that a storm had damaged the sails of the vessel, called Kyklades, and that they would have to return earlier than expected.
Connie Terrell, of the US Coast Guard, told the newspaper that the couple had a spare sail, but that it was not certain "whether they were able to make repairs at sea and continue to the Azores or if they turned around and went further to the north".
Four days after Dale Jones' last communication with the family, the sailor's daughter, worried about not being able to reach her mother and alerted the Coast Guard on June 17. Although the couple did not have a set date for their return after the damage to the vessel, it was expected that they would have already arrived in the United States by that time.
In the statement issued on Tuesday, the US Coast Guard said the sailboat was about 460 nautical miles (about 850 kilometers) from the city of Virginia Beach when it made the last contact with land.
No official search
Terrell of the Coast Guard told the Washington Post that she believes the couple are not in danger, but that authorities are trying to locate them. Although they have not yet officially started the search, they contacted the authorities of the Azores, Bermuda, and Canada and used two aerial means to monitor the area from which the last communication was made.
US authorities are still trying to locate the boat's mobile phones and radio signal in an effort to reduce the search area, Brian Gainey, a Coast Guard official, also revealed.
"It's a lot of detective work, but it's all in the service of finding these two people and bringing them back to their families."