The US Navy has tonight found the hull of the yacht Cheeki Rafiki which went missing a week ago with four British sailors on board.

Officials said there is still no sign of the missing yachtsmen.

A Foreign Office spokesman said it was keeping in close contact with the US Coast Guard (USCG), who made the discovery in the North Atlantic.

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They have informed family members of the missing men of the discovery.

The spokesman said: "The US Navy has informed us it has located the hull of the Cheeki Rafiki.

"We have informed the families and remain in close contact with them and with the USCG who continue to lead the search operation."

The Foreign Office was unable to confirm any details about the possible fate of the crew members.

Experienced captain Andrew Bridge, 22, from Farnham in Surrey, and crew members James Male, 23, from Southampton, Steve Warren, 52, from Bridgwater, Somerset, and Paul Goslin, 56, from West Camel, Somerset, were on board the yacht which is thought to have got into trouble around 620 miles east of Cape Cod last Thursday.

Earlier, the Foreign Office said their families "still hold out much hope that their loved ones will be found soon" after US officials said they were preparing to stand down the search operation at 5am tomorrow.

The Foreign Office said: "They were obviously saddened to hear that the US Coast Guard will be suspending the search. But they were prepared for the fact that this would have to happen.

"They are meeting with the Foreign Office later on today, to talk about UK involvement and any other avenues that can be explored.

"Having spent the week getting to know each other better, along with hearing the endless accounts of survivors, the families are reassured that their men would work as an efficient and cohesive team.

"This gives them additional hope that they will still be found, as the US Coast Guard have found no evidence to the contrary."