Jul 4, 2013 11:19 AM

No results in latest search for lost yacht off Australian coast

Another radar search of more than 97,000 square nautical miles was completed off the Australian coast Wednesday without any sighting of the yacht lost last month carrying a Lafayette woman and six other crew members.

The 70-foot Nina was sailing from New Zealand to Australia with seven people on board, including Danielle Wright, 19, of Lafayette, when it ran into rough weather on June 4.

On June 15, Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand obtained details of the position and time of the last transmission from the Nina's satellite phone from Iridium, a satellite communications company. But on June 29, officials learned that another transmission, a text message sent June 4, had not been delivered. RCCNZ, working with the United States State Department, sought the release of the following undelivered text message, which RCCNZ received Wednesday.

2013-06-03 23:50:25
[phone number]

Nigel Clifford, Maritime New Zealand's General Manager Safety and Response Services, said the position information was then factored into search area calculations, along with other available information.

"As concern for the vessel increased, RCCNZ made further inquiries with Iridium about all transmissions made from the Nina's satellite phone during the period of interest," said Clifford. "The text message gives a clearer indication of the condition of the vessel on 4 June, and the weather that was being experienced at the time. The text message clearly indicates that the Nina was affected by the storm, but gives no indication of immediate distress.

Clifford said that while the text message shows that Nina had survived the storm up to that point, very poor weather continued in the area for many hours and has been followed by other storms.

There have been no further transmissions or messages from the Nina since the undelivered text message and no distress messages from either of the two distress alerting devices on board.

RCCNZ has discussed the details of the text message and other search information gathered to date with representatives of the family and friends of the crew.


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