Florida Keys News - Islamorada/KL Free Press
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Family of Nina passenger ends search

TAVERNIER -- A family's search for their daughter lost at sea appears to be coming to an end after several public benefits, appeals to politicians and private aircraft searches.

The family of Danielle Wright, a 19-year-old Louisiana resident, are returning home from Australia.

Wright was aboard the 70-foot sailboat Nina, which was owned and being captained by Tavernier resident David Dyche III, 58, when the vessel vanished after leaving Opua, New Zealand, last May bound for Newcastle, Australia, a 1,250-nautical-mile trip.

Also on board were Rosemary Dyche, 60; 17-year-old David Dyche IV; Evi Nemeth, 73; Matthew Wooton, 35, of the United Kingdom; and Kyle Jackson, 27, of Nebraska.

Wright's family has worked tirelessly to bring attention to the boat's and crew's disappearance. Country music star Hunter Hayes even came to their aide to record a public announcement on YouTube.

"We know they can survive whatever the Tasman throws at them with God's hand of protection covering them," Ricky and Robin Wright said last week on Facebook.

However, a story published last week on TVNZ's One News said New Zealand officials have concluded it would be unwise to spend any more taxpayer money searching for a lost ship that wasn't bearing any New Zealanders.

In the words of one New Zealand news anchor: "If you're going to wander around the world, I don't know why you'd expect people to come and rescue you. That's beyond me."

Rescue crews were first alerted that the boat was missing on June 14, but were not initally concerned since the boat's emergency beacon was never activated.

Neville Blackmore, of New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre, later said the boat probably sank rapidly, not giving the crew enough time to activate the beacon.

New Zealand Rescues called off its search July 6, leaving the families to turn to a private rescue team out of Texas, which began searching 12 days later.

They have also employed private pilots in New Zealand and asked the military to perform training in Tasman Sea, which could lead to a sighting. The families have also scoured thousands of satellite images in an effort to find the vessel. All attempts have been unsuccessful.

jgore@keysnews.com

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