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Fears mount for 7 in yacht missing off NZ

(China Daily)

08:30, June 28, 2013

New Zealand rescue authorities expressed grave fears on Thursday for six US citizens and a Briton whose historic yacht has been missing for more than three weeks.

The 21-meter wooden schooner Nina, built in 1928, set off from the North Island bound for Newcastle, Australia, on May 29 but has not been heard from since June 4, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand said.

Rescue coordinator Kevin Banaghan said friends and relatives raised concerns on June 14 and all attempts to contact the vessel had failed.

He said the yacht has a satellite phone, a tracking beacon and an emergency beacon, which have not been activated.

A New Zealand Air Force Orion plane carried out extensive searches of the waters between the North Island and the Australian coast this week.

"Unfortunately, no sign of the vessel has been found," Banaghan said, adding that conditions were very rough when it went missing, with winds gusting at 110 km per hour and swells of eight meters.

"We do hold grave concerns for the Nina and her crew but remain hopeful of a positive outcome," he said.

Banaghan said the missing crew comprise six US citizens - three men aged 17, 28 and 58, and three women aged 18, 60 and 73 - and a 35-year-old British man.

The yacht's last known position was 370 nautical miles off the New Zealand coast.

"No sign of the vessel has been reported by any other vessel in the area since June 4," Banaghan said, adding that New Zealand and Australian rescuers are coordinating on the search.

While the rescue center did not name anyone aboard the yacht, the Northern Advocate newspaper reported earlier this year that the Nina took part in a local regatta and was owned by a US citizen named David Dyche.

It said Dyche, his wife Rosemary and son David, 17, left Florida in 2008 to sail round the world, traveling through the Bahamas, Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica and French Polynesia before arriving in New Zealand.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiangJun、Zhang Qian)

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