Lafayette

Jul 3, 2013 6:43 PM by Dwayne Fatherree

Search resumes for missing yacht, Lafayette woman

Authorities are preparing to resume the search for the crew of an American schooner missing en route from New Zealand to Australia, this time moving the focus to the north based on new information.

Danielle Wright of Lafayette and six other passengers were supposed to arrive in Australia weeks ago. Authorities have been searching continuously for the last nine days for the craft.

Ricky Wright, her father, said he learned Wednesday morning that a satellite phone was used to send a text message to a meteorologist from the 70-foot schooner Nina after it had passed through two storms in early June. According to the message, the schooner had damaged sails from the high winds but was still making headway at 4 knots per hour.

Extensive aerial searches over the past nine days have found no trace of the crew or their vessel or life raft. Heavy rain and poor visibility prevented any searching yesterday.

Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) is searching a rectangular area north of and parallel to another area searched by radar on Wednesday last week. The aircraft will search for about five hours, covering an area of 73,000 square nautical miles.

RCCNZ Operations Manager John Seward said the new search area is based on earlier searches and the results of drift modelling from the last known positions for the yacht on June 4. He said almost all of the new search area has not been searched previously, apart from 2,100 square nautical miles covered on Tuesday.

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