Jul 17, 2013 6:36 PM by Chris Welty

Dad Hitting Obstacles in Search for Daughter & Crew

An aerial search started off the coast of Australia in an effort to find a UL student missing at sea.

Here in Acadiana, her dad says it's been a struggle to get this search started. UL student Danielle Wright along with six others aboard the Nina have been missing more than forty days. The ship disappeared in early June, shortly after leaving New Zealand for Australia.

Three weeks ago, New Zealand officials called off their search. Back here at home, the Wright family called Texas Equusearch.

The family says they're struggling to get information from the New Zealand government that could lead them to the Nina.

"we have an obligation to the crew and passengers of the ship to finish this search."

Wright family friend, Gene Mills is optimistic they'll find Danielle Wright and the passengers aboard the Nina.

The search party needs information from New Zealand's government to help in their own rescue efforts, but Mills says the government isn't cooperating. The Wrights want to know the areas already searched and want to see pictures New Zealand rescue crews took from a plane.

"We want to be able to utilize that information to determine where they searched, how they searched and what they saw," said Ricky Wright.

He says the U.S. Counsulate in New Zealand can't do anything to help or make New Zealand turn over this information.

"There are people dragging their feet. Every minute counts and we need more effort and collaboration," said Ralph Baird with Texas Equusearch.

Ricky Wright says he has money to fund search efforts, but it's difficult to find people with the right tools.

"We need to make some progress, we need to have our funds up and resources ready. these are specific resources," said Baird.

Wright thinks the boat has drifted near Australia and is in their waters. The Australian government says they can't get involved until New Zealand calls for their assistance, which hasn't happened.

The search efforts will cost about 20 to 50 thousand dollars for each search mission, and they're asking the public for help, with donations through Texas Equusearch. If you'd like to donate to that effort click here.

Chris Welty


» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.


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