Jul 5, 2013 11:32 AM

Search suspended for missing yacht off Australian coast

There are no further active searches planned to locate the yacht lost last month carrying a Lafayette woman and six other crew members, according to the the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand.

The 70-foot Nina left New Zealand on May 29, sailing to Australia with seven people on board including Danielle Wright, 19, of Lafayette. It ran into rough weather on June 4.

After nine days of searches, the RCCNZ says there are no further plans to look for the vessel.

"Regardless of any decision on active searching, RCCNZ will continue to evaluate all the available information and any new information that may come to light," said RCCNZ Operations Manager John Seward.

RCCNZ received details of the schooner's last known position on June 15, where weather conditions were known to have been rough with winds of 50 mph gusting to 69 mph and swells of up to 25 feet.

Family members of some of those on board were given renewed hope yesterday after an undelivered message sent from the Nina on June 4 was released by phone carrier Iridium.

"Thanks storm sails shredded last night, now bare poles. Going 4KT 310DEG will update course info @6pm," the text message read.

Maritime New Zealand spokesperson Rosemary Neilson said yesterday the message clearly indicated the Nina was affected by the storm, but gave no indication of immediate stress.

"[The message] shows that Nina had survived the storm up to that point, but very poor weather continued in the area of many house and has been followed other storms," Neilson said.

The RCCNZ said the concerning part of the message was that the crew intended to provide course information six hours later at 6 p.m., but did not.


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