Jul 10, 2013 7:52 PM

Father to spearhead private search for missing yacht

Ricky Wright, the Lafayette businessman whose 19-year-old daughter Danielle is aboard the missing yacht Nina off the Australia coast, says he is going to start his own search for the schooner.

New Zealand search officials announced last week they were halting active searches for the missing 70-foot sailboat.

Wright says he has been in talks with Texas Equusearch, the firm that had been involved in the search for Mickey Shunick, to take on a marine search down under.

"We just got through with another call," Wright said Wednesday evening. "We've been talking with Texas Equusearch. They're going to head up things for us."

Wright says that one of the concerns is that Texas Equusearch does not own a long-range patrol aircraft, like the P-3 Orion which New Zealand officials had been using in their search for the Nina, which was last heard from on June 4 after losing its sails in a storm.

"He's talking with some people down there now," Wright said. "We had an hour meeting tonight and a two-hour meeting last night. We are trying to build up some contacts, scrape up some data."

Instead of trying to buy a usable airplane, Wright says the plan is to raise enough money to pay New Zealand for the use of its aircraft in future searches.


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