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 Wright: Parts found in sea not from NINA
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6 months ago

Wright: Parts found in sea not from NINA

The father of Danielle Wright says pieces of a boat recently found in the Timor Sea are not from the vessel on which his daughter was traveling.

The Australian newspaper NOTHERN TERRITORY NEWS reported that a a fishing boat's netting caught the mast and sail of a sunken yacht. However, the article stated that authorities could not determine if those parts matched those of the NINA, which was last seen in June 2013.

Ricky Wright tells KATC that he and others close to the search for the NINA have ruled out that the mast and sail are those of the missing yacht. Wright says the size, shape, and color of the pieces found are different from the mast and sail of the NINA.

Wright says he is still in touch with officials from New Caledonia. He says that nation's officials are keeping an eye out during their patrols for any clues or evidence that might be in the water.

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11 months ago

Message from Robin Wright on Nina being called a "ghost ship"

From Robin Wright, mother of Danielle Wright, one of the 7 aboard the missing yacht off New Zealand's coast:
"Some news media in New Zealand are calling Nina a ghost ship, which means that they acknowledge Nina is probably drifting (as the satellite image seems to confirm), but there's no way the crew can still be alive. Here's what we think:

Captain Dyche is a commercial sea captain and has spent much of his life on the water, and, before becoming a boat captain, he was a commercial deep sea diver. Add in the vast sailing experience of Evi Nemeth, Rosemary, and "Little David", along with the extensive survival skills of Matthew Wootton and Kyle Jackson, and we proclaim that Danielle couldn't be in more capable hands than with the crew of Nina.
The family of the Nina crew members, with the help of Texas Equusearch (TES), maintains our position that Nina did not sink, but was demasted in the third storm, and ran out of fuel, losing all ability to sail or charge batteries or communicate with the outside world. We believe that the crew set off their EPIRB, but due to the bad weather, the satellites malfunctioned and failed to pick up their distress signal. After waiting several days for a rescue team that never arrived, this experienced crew started rationing the abundant food supplies on-board Nina, while continuing to catch fresh fish as the main staple of their diets.
Nina is designed to catch rain water across the entire deck of the boat, so when it rains, water is funneled to the bow of the boat via toe rails around the perimeter of the deck. Someone simply has to open the levers, and rain water pours into very large water tanks located below. It rains a lot in the Tasman, and fish are plentiful, so we are confident that the crew is doing fine. We are not overly concerned about whether or not they can stay alive; Nina is providing them with shelter, and they have all of their food supplies, warm clothing, and equipment intact. We're more concerned that the New Zealand authorities and our US Government still aren't cooperating with us in our efforts to rescue this amazing crew.
Nina's crew can pinpoint their location; they know exactly where they are, out in the middle of nowhere, with no islands in the area. They have determined that they might have to survive for many months before drifting to land because of the strong, circulating currents of the Tasman, and Captain David wants nothing more in life than to reach land with all seven crew alive and well.
John Glennie and 3 other men survived in the Tasman Sea in much more severe conditions because his trimaran turtled, causing then to lose most of their food stores when the boat flipped. They set off their EPIRB, but no one picked up their signal. They drifted for 119 days, surviving on almost nothing for weeks until barnacles began growing on the bottom of the boat. Barnacles attract fish, and the boat ultimately becomes a floating reef, making it very easy to catch fish. John Glennie knows first-hand that the crew of Nina can definitely survive.
Earlier this year, the Gastonquay family (3 adults and 2 babies) were caught in storms and lost their mast. They set off their EPIRB, but no one picked up their signal. They drifted for 91 days living on fresh fish, rain water, and the supplies stored on-board. Even the babies survived.
Steve Callahan survived for 76 days alone in a life-raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with very little food and enough water for a few days. But his survival skills kicked in and kept him alive. My point in sharing these three stories: When you call Nina a ghost ship and claim it's impossible for the crew to still be surviving at sea, you are underestimating seven, very strong and determined sailors who have the skills and experience to do just that. SURVIVE."

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1 year ago

Boustany Seeks for State Department to Aid in Search for Missing Crew

Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., M.D., (R-South Louisiana) issued the following statement after addressing a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry at the United States Department of State to aid in the search for Danielle Wright and six others gone missing:

"The search efforts to find Danielle Wright and the six other missing people continue to face obstacles while trying to find evidence of the missing S/V NINA. So far, the family of Danielle Wright has done more to aid in this search than our own government. Since the New Zealand government has suspended its investigation, I am pushing the United States State Department to assist this effort including using any search and rescue assets available in the area, be it satellite imaging or military resources."

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1 year ago

Family of missing sailors to take petition to D.C.

Representatives for the family and crew of the missing schooner Nina are fighting to get the U.S. State Department to help in the search for the seven missing crew members -- even if they have to fly to the nation's capital to do it.

One organizer confirmed that the State Department received an online petition last week asking for help in searching the waters off Australia's coast for signs of the 70-foot sailboat, which was last heard from on June 4.

"The State Department remains trenchant," said Tim Paynter, one of the search petition's organizers. "They are placing every barrier that they can in the way of finding these sailors. This is an administrative foul up of epic proportions."

The crew of seven includes UL student Danielle Wright of Lafayette. According to Paynter, Danielle Wright's father Ricky Wright will deliver a copy of the petition in person to the State Department in Washington, D.C.

Nina search effort supporters hope the petition will urge the State Department to rev up coast guard, satellites, and Navy ships to help find the ship that has been missing for more than 100 days now.

The petition can be found online at http://www.change.org/petitions/ask-secretary-of-state-john-kerry-to-support-search-for-sailors-missing-on-nina.

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1 year ago

Check Donation for Nina Search

Today, Raisin' Canes presented a check to help the Wright Family search for their daughter, UL student Danielle Wright, and six other missing crew members from the historic 70-foot yacht Nina.

Searchers believe the yacht is drifting after encountering storms while sailing from New Zealand to Australia. Danielle's parents, Ricky and Robin Wright, contacted Texas Equusearch to spearhead the search.

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1 year ago

Raising Canes to hold fundraiser for Nina search effort

The Acadiana locations of Raising Cane's will hold a fundraiser Wednesday evening for the search for a missing UL student Danielle Wright and the yacht on which she was sailing when she went missing.

The Cane's locations in Lafayette, Opelousas, New Iberia, and Broussard will donate 15% of each purchase towards the Nina Search Fund. Customer must tell the cashier that they are there to support the "Nina and her crew" in order for the donation to be made.

The fundraiser begins at 3 P. M. and will run until 10 P. M.

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1 year ago

Search Efforts Ramp Up for Nina and Crew

Search efforts for the missing sailboat Nina continue to pick up momentum.

Satellite images on Tomnod maps are getting more "clicks" and "tags."

A grouping of tags west of Norfolk Island is grabbing the attention of those searching for the Nina and the seven people aboard, including UL student Danielle Wright.

Danielle's dad, Ricky Wright says they can't confirm anything from the imagery. Today, he spoke with the United State's Secretary of State's Office. Wright says they gave their condolences and said they've done everything they could to assist in the search. Wright is frustrated, saying the U.S. government hasn't helped. He's thankful the New Zealand government dedicated ten days to the search.

Wright says funds are running low and they can only continue searching for three more days unless more money is raised.

Tonight, a benefit auction is being held to continue to raise funds for the search effort at the Marina Plaza Resort in League City, Texas. Also, donations will continue to be accepted through Home Bank, The Community Foundation of Acadiana and Texas Equusearch.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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1 year ago

Families of Those Missing On Nina Bonding After Finally Meeting

The Nina is still missing. Thursday family members of the crew got together to show their joint support at a press conference. The gathering was the first time all of the families came together publicly to continue to ask for help from the public. Monetary donations are the key to fueling the searches. For the families, being able to get together is helping in many ways.

"I feel like it's been really wonderful to get to meet all the families and show how much we all care together and how much hope we all have," Libby Pratt said.

Pratt is the niece of Evi Nemeth. Nemeth is one of the seven who were sailing on the Nina. She is also 73-years-old. But, according to her family, don't let the age fool you.

"Two years ago she re-roofed her house in Florida because she found it was cheaper to do it herself and had the strength; and she was 71 at the time," Pratt said.

Pratt says Nemeth has always been an adventurer, and the former college professor was the one who taught many talents to the family.

"She taught us how to ski, took us around the world, taught us how to sail, and I see that hearing all these stories about everyone else. Each person on that boat is so independent and so strong," Pratt said.

"Danielle and Evi are like minded. She's strong and independent just like Evi, so they're getting along well. They're probably doing push-ups right now together," Ricky Wright said.

Wright is the father of 19-year-old UL student Danielle Wright, another passenger on the Nina. Ricky Wright believes the like-mindedness of those on board will pay off for them in the long run.

"It's a family bond. It's a bonding together where two chain links get together you have a stronger union and I believe that's what's happening on the boat right now. There's strength in each other," Ricky Wright said.

During Thursday's press conference, family members each spoke at the microphone expressing their concerns and telling stories about how much they know each of them is fighting. Also stepping to the microphone was another survivor of an ocean tragedy. John Glennie, from New Zealand, was sailing when his boat capsized. He spent 119 days clinging to his overturned boat before finally being swept ashore.

"I guess my message is if I did it so can they," says Glennie, "My job here is to inspire and give people hope but they've inspired me."

Danielle Wright's mother, Robin, has some comfort in the words Glennie has shared about surviving, but her focus remains on getting her daughter and the six others home as soon as possible.

"You hear him talk and you realize there is no picnic going on out there. These are dire circumstances and we need to find them. The sooner we do the better for them physically, but we know how strong they are and they're going to do what they have to do to survive," Robin Wright said.

To make a donation you can call Home Bank, the Community Foundation of Acadiana or Texas Equusearch.

Also to check for updates on the search you can visit www.evxx.com.

Friday, August 22nd an auction benefit is being held at the Marina Plaza South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, Texas. The benefit will be from 6-9 p.m. and will include a pasta dinner followed by a silent/live auction for $25.

Texas Equusearch would like the public to dial (202)-647-4000 and choose option 4. This number will connect you to the Department of State. Officials with Equusearch want the public to urge the government to get back in on the search for the Nina.

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1 year ago

Nina families, searchers reaffirm their belief in crew's health, ask for help in funding search

Members of the team searching for the missing schooner Nina, along with family members of the seven missing crew, held a press conference in League City, Texas, to ask for more help in the search and to reaffirm their belief that the members of the crew are still alive, just waiting to be picked up.

Lafayette businessman Ricky Wright and his wife, Robin, were both on hand to lend their voices to the effort. Ricky Wright has been unwavering in his belief that the survivors will be found. The couple's 18-year-old daughter, Danielle, is one of the missing crew members.

"We can't wait on the military," Ricky Wright said. "We need to keep searching now and need the funds to do so. We will find them."

Robin Wright said everyday she has to think about her daughter eating raw fish and surviving. She closed her copmments with a plea for help to raise money to keep pilots in the sky. She said planned to visit Danielle upon the Nina's arrival in Australia and says now, after meeting the other families and finding out who is on the boat, she is confident of their survival. Robin Wright said she believes they are drifting, awaiting rescue, after having lost the schooner's mast in rough weather in early June.

"They can survive on a life raft," Ricky Wright said. "If they are, they are paddling back to land. Please help us."

Dan Molina of Texas Equusearch said he believes, as do New Zealanders he has spoken to as part of the search, all seven members of the crew are alive. He wants people to call the Department of State to rally support for the search effort.

He also says private resources shouldn't have to be used for search and rescue which is the departments job. They are asking the department of state for help in accessing satellites, rather than depending on private companies like TomNod.

A representative for TomNod, the online site that has been used to "crowdsource" the search for the Nina, said the online search tool is getting global hits from people scouring the satellite images to help find the Nina.

The New Zealand searchers asked for new information that comes available, which wiould allow them to rejoin search efforts. They acknowledged that Texas Equusearch flights have searched areas they previously did not.

As proof that people can survive in that area for extended periods of time, John Glennia told his story. He was stranded in a similar area to the Nina for 119 days. Glennia says the area the Nina is lost in is very survivable.

"You just have to keep looking," Glennia said.

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1 year ago

Nina search running out of money for aircraft flights

According to a post on a Facebook group dedicated to the search for the missing schooner Nina, the aircraft currently flying a search pattern in hopes of locating the crew will have to cut its search short due to a lack of funding.

The aircraft's operator told search volunteers the group only has funding to allow search operations up to midday New Zealand time.

The families of the missing sailors, including local woman Danielle Wright, are continuing to hold on to hope that all seven of the survivors will be found soon.

Donations for the search effort can be made through Texas Equusearch at this address.

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1 year ago

Family: Call Sec. of State John Kerry to help bring home 7 Crew Members

The family would like the U.S. to send planes out for searches and is asking the public to call Secretary of State John Kerry. Here are 5 simple steps:

1-Call 202-647-4000

2-Hit option 4 for an operator

3-Ask for the Secretary of State John Kerry Comment Line

4-Hit option 1 to leave a message. It doesn't give you long, but will give you a 15 second warning towards the end.

5-Make sure you hit the closing selections, eg: 1, #, etc. to get your recording complete and submitted.

Example message; "Hi, my name is ____________ and I am calling to ask Secretary of State John Kerry to support The Search for the missing yacht Nina and her 7 crew members. Please help them with mitary aircraft, software and anything else."

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1 year ago

New Hope: 7 Crew Members, 75 Days Lost at Sea

Seven crew members, 75 days lost at sea and one Acadiana family desperate to bring their daughter home.

"It's been rough and everyday, every hour, every minute could mean the difference between life and death for someone on that boat," said Robin Wright.

Thousand of miles away the search for Danielle Wright and the Nina is intensifying with some help from Acadiana. Technology also played a role. By using a website called Tomnod.com, users anywhere can log on and review satellite images from off the coast of Australia. It's there where the Nina and its crew disappeared at the beginning of June.

Until now there's been no sign of them, but last Friday one user in Acadiana found something that is giving the search effort renewed hope. The Wrights are thinking this could be the first sighting of a life raft from the Nina, and it's the most promising sign the family's had yet. The image was captured on August 3rd, so now the volunteers are looking at drift patterns and currents, in hopes they can find the object in that satellite image.

"We're staying very busy. We're doing everything we know how to bring Danielle home," said her mother Robin Wright.

It's an orange spot in the Tasman Sea that's giving the Wright family hope.

"It will have some devices to catch rain water and fishing string and hooks and things like that for survival," said Danielle's father, Ricky Wright.

"But it's cold. Do they have blankets? You know, I'm a mom so I'm thinking all those things through. How do you sleep? How do you cut up stinky fish on a life raft?," said Robin. "I think all those things through in the middle of the night. I just know I want to rescue them now."

The images have changed the search area. It's now 300 miles northeast from the original search area. An area nearly the size of Texas. At this rate it will take nearly 50 days to search.

"It would cost over a million dollars to search that whole area," said Ricky.

Texas Eqqusearch is helping in the private search after the New Zealand government called off it's search weeks ago. The Wrights are hoping political pressure could change that. And that's where the Acadiana Congressional Delegation comes in.

"We're going to stay on top of this. The U.S. Government is working in tandem with the New Zealand government and, you know, if we feel like they're not following through, the way it should be followed through, then of course we will apply more pressure," said Congressman Dr. Charles Boustany.

"I'm sure they're feeling pretty hopeless out there," said Robin. "They don't see any planes. They don't know if we're looking for them or not. So hang in there."

Monday's search turned up nothing, but crews will be back out Tuesday.

If you are interested in helping bring home the Nina and her crew there are several ways to do so:

*Get the word out through social media

* Tomnod.com- search through satellite images

*Donate:

All Home Bank locations ACCT#2059321602 (Make payable to Robin Wright)

Sunbelt Business Brokers, 2701 Johnston Street, Suite 300, Lafayette, LA

Community Foundation of Acadiana, 1035 Camellia Blvd, Lafayette, LA

Texas Equusearch online at www.texasequusearch.org, must add special instruction to the seller - Nina Search Fund

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1 year ago

Nina Rescue Crews Search Potential "Hot Spots

As rescue crews continue their search for a missing UL student and The Nina, new breakthroughs have unfolded.

With the help of everyday people at home, the search for Danielle Wright and others on the Nina is more focused on potential hot spots.

It's all thanks to technology and an on-line program called Tomnod. It allows users all over the world to click through satellite images of where rescue crews are searching for the Nina.

Last Friday one user in Acadiana found an object that's changed the course of the search.

"This is kind of shocking because you can see, you just see black and black and black...And suddenly this orange thing just kind of popped up," volunteer and Tomnod user Denice Skinner explains as she clicks through Tomnod satellite images.

Skinner stumbled upon an orange-looking object last friday while on Tomnod. She immediately posted a picture of it to "Bringing Home The Nina's" Facebook page. The hope is, it's a raft, similar to one on board the Nina.

"Within five minutes we were asking other people in the group to, in the community they were looking, ya'll take a look and it just went viral after that amongst the group that oh my gosh it's really something," Skinner said.

In a matter of hours, Texas Equusearch was on the case. Since the picture was taken August 3rd, new grids and drift models were created of the Tasman sea to determine where the orange object could be.

"We need to find the raft again, we need to find it on August 7th, anything else that looks significant because that was several days ago. So were looking for anything from August 7th that can help in that search that can give them even more clues, more leads as they track," Skinner said.

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1 year ago

Bad weather prevents Nina life-raft search

In the last 24 hours, interest in the Nina and her crew of 7 is spiking to new levels after a satellite image of a possible life raft was spotted.

Several Acadiana politicians are also taking interest in the search efforts after seeing the satellite images. Louisiana House Representative, Nancy Landry, who has been tagging satellite images for the family says, that Congressman Charles Boustany is working to get the New Zealand Government to rejoin the search with the new leads that have surfaced. Landry also says, Senator David Vitter is stepping up. Vitter is reaching out to the Department of State, requesting action based on the new evidence.

The Stuff.co.nz reports that last night bad weather halted a New Zealand search plane from flying to that certain area in the Tasman Sea in search for that possible life raft.

The Nina and her crew of seven left New Zealand on May 29th and was headed to Newcastle, Australia. The crew was last hear from on June 4th while taking on rough weather in the Tasman Sea. On June 25th the search for, Danielle Wright, a student at UL who was on the Nina, and the other six crew members on board began. That search was officially called off on July 4th, Wright's family and families of the other crew members on board have continued to fund private searches.

During a press conference Thursday, family explained to the pubic how to use Tomnod.com, a satellite company that uploads images of the Tasman Sea. The Tomnod system gets people to identify unusual objects they see in high-resolution satellite photos. That's where the satellite image of a bright orange object was spotted, and family says, the Nina carried a bright orange life-raft. The object is between Norfolk Island and New South Wales.

comparison of the life boat on the Niña and the object spotted on the satellite image.A Google earth map showing the area a New Zealand plane is searching for the missing yacht Nina.

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1 year ago

Still Lost, 71 days at Sea: 'Our Daughter is A Survivor'

After 71 days, an Acadiana family is not giving up the fight to find their loved one, lost at sea. There is still no sign of UL student Danielle Wright and six others, missing off the coast of Australia.

"We love her so much and we want her back," said Robin Wright. "We need your help because we cant do this alone."

They've been missing since early June, and rescue efforts were called off after just nine days. But that hasn't stopped Danielle's family. They've been doing private searches for weeks, and now they're reaching out to Acadiana for help. So how can you help find someone thousands of miles away?

At a cost of roughly $20,000 a day the Wright's continue searching for their daughter Danielle, lost in the Tasman Sea, off the coast of Australia.

"The more we know about the crew that's with her, the more confident we are that they're catching fish, they're catching turtles and they're catching their rain water. They're survivors. They're trained to survive these circumstances," said Danielle's mother, Robin Wright.

And with the continued help of Texas Equusearch the Wright family is narrowing their search. Focusing on an area called "Search Area 707."
"There's a very high probability that they will be in that area," said Danielle's father, Ricky Wright. "We have planes that are flying over those areas right now."

"What would the people on this boat say right now? I think they'd say we're not quitting, so why are you," said Tim Miller with Texas Equusearch.

The family is asking for donations to help continue the search, but there is another way to help: By logging on to tomnod.com, a satelite company which is uploading images of the Tasman Sea. When you log on you can help search through and mark anything that might resemble the Nina.

"We've got 800 people, right now, looking at satellite images. We could use 3,000 to 4,000 people to look at these satellite images. There are 56,000 pictures we've taken and they all have to be looked at by somebody," said Ralph Baird with Texas Equusearch.

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1 year ago

HAPPENING NOW: Family, searchers hold press conference about missing schooner

Ricky and Robin Wright, along with Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller, are holding a press conference about the missing sailing schooner Nina.

The press conference is to talk about the new search area that the family is focusing on as well as to drive awareness of the need for funding to continue searching for the 70-foot sailing vessel.

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1 year ago

Family of Danielle Wright to hold press conference today

The parents of missing UL student Danielle Wright will hold a press conference at 1:45 this afternoon to give an update on the search efforts for their daughter and the yacht on which she was sailing.

Wright and seven others have been missing since June. They were went missing in the Tasman Sea off the coast of New Zealand while sailing on a yacht called the Nina. Recent fundraising efforts have allowed the family to hire search and rescue pilots who are now searching a 300,000 square mile area for the boat. However, the family says those funds will only cover the cost for only a few days of searches.

The family is still asking for donations to aid in the search efforts. Donations can be made at any local Home Bank branch to account number 2059321602.

Officials from Texas Equusearch will join the Wrights for the press conference.

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1 year ago

Account set up for Danielle Wright search effort

A bank account has been set up to help fund the search for a UL student missing in the Pacific Ocean.

Danielle Wright and several others went missing June while sailing on a yacht off the coast of New Zealand. Wright's family has vowed to keep searching for her despite not receiving help from the federal government.

Donations may be made at any Home Bank branch. The account number is 2059321602.

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1 year ago

U.S. not aiding in 'Nina' search, family says

The family of missing Lafayette woman Danielle Wright is continuing to search for the 70-foot sailing yacht Nina, which went missing in May, but is doing it without help of the U.S. government.

According to Ricky Wright, Danielle's father, communication with the State Department has come to a standstill. Wright says that calls from Texas Equusearch, which is working with the Wright family to find Danielle, are currently going unanswered, and messages unreturned.

"I can't believe that the United States government won't launch a plane or help in a search for one of its citizens," Wright said Wednesday afternoon. "That's where we are."

Wright said Texas Equusearch, working with data provided from the New Zealand search authorities, has identified a new potential search area for the Nina. Unfortunately, that area is 300 miles offshore, meaning any aircraft that could do a search needs to have an incredibly long range.

"it's 300 miles offshore, so before you even start you need a plane that can fly 600 miles," Wright explained.

Wright continues to believe the Nina is still afloat and adrift, waiting for searchers to locate her.

"if she had sunk, we would have found some sort of wreckage by now," Wright said.

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1 year ago

Search Efforts Continue For Missing UL Student & The Nina

There's new hope today for a UL student and six other passengers aboard a sailboat last heard from in early June in the form of more involvement from the U.S. government.

Several congressmen and the New Zealand Consul held a conference call today to discuss how to improve the search.

As part of this cooperation, New Zealand has agreed to turn over data it gathered during its own search earlier this month.

Meanwhile, rescue efforts continue for UL student Danielle Wright and her crewmates. According to Danielle's family, two more patrols will fly out tomorrow and continue searching off the coast of Australia for the 70-foot schooner "Nina."

Public assistance is still needed to help fund these efforts. Donations are being accepted at Texas Equusearch at http://texasequusearch.org/2013/07/tes-sv-nina-search/

A new fund has also been set up by the Community Foundation of Acadiana at http://www.cfacadiana.org/fund_highlights/Agency-and-Designated-Funds/Danielle-Wright-Search-Fund to help the cause.

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1 year ago

Dad Hitting Obstacles in Search for Daughter & Crew

An aerial search started off the coast of Australia in an effort to find a UL student missing at sea.

Here in Acadiana, her dad says it's been a struggle to get this search started. UL student Danielle Wright along with six others aboard the Nina have been missing more than forty days. The ship disappeared in early June, shortly after leaving New Zealand for Australia.

Three weeks ago, New Zealand officials called off their search. Back here at home, the Wright family called Texas Equusearch.

The family says they're struggling to get information from the New Zealand government that could lead them to the Nina.

"we have an obligation to the crew and passengers of the ship to finish this search."

Wright family friend, Gene Mills is optimistic they'll find Danielle Wright and the passengers aboard the Nina.

The search party needs information from New Zealand's government to help in their own rescue efforts, but Mills says the government isn't cooperating. The Wrights want to know the areas already searched and want to see pictures New Zealand rescue crews took from a plane.

"We want to be able to utilize that information to determine where they searched, how they searched and what they saw," said Ricky Wright.

He says the U.S. Counsulate in New Zealand can't do anything to help or make New Zealand turn over this information.

"There are people dragging their feet. Every minute counts and we need more effort and collaboration," said Ralph Baird with Texas Equusearch.

Ricky Wright says he has money to fund search efforts, but it's difficult to find people with the right tools.

"We need to make some progress, we need to have our funds up and resources ready. these are specific resources," said Baird.

Wright thinks the boat has drifted near Australia and is in their waters. The Australian government says they can't get involved until New Zealand calls for their assistance, which hasn't happened.

The search efforts will cost about 20 to 50 thousand dollars for each search mission, and they're asking the public for help, with donations through Texas Equusearch. If you'd like to donate to that effort click here.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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1 year ago

Teen Lost At Sea, Father Asks Public For Help


The father of a missing teen lost at sea is asking the public for help. Ricky Wright's daughter UL student Danielle Wright along with six others, were aboard a vessel called the Nina, that disappeared after leaving New Zealand in early June.

Danielle's parents miss their daughter dearly, and the last six weeks have been difficult to say the least.

"It's been hard, you know, but God's been our strength, and he's been our peace, and God has got my daughter Danielle in his hands," Ricky Wright said.

Ricky Wright says there's still hope. He's making sure search efforts will continue, since New Zealand crews called off their search three weeks ago. Now Texas Equusearch is organizing a new search effort. This Thursday a private plane will fly over areas where the missing vessel may be, including places like Australia.

"We're hoping to have this thing resolved in two days to find them down there in the New Castle area," Ricky Wright said.

Danielle's father says if they have to go further, they'll search the reef area above Brisbane. He says these efforts will cost about 20 to 50 thousand dollars for each search mission, and they're asking the public for help, with donations through Texas Equusearch. If you'd like to donate to that effort, click here:

"God has got my daughter Danielle in his hands, and so we know she's at peace with God, and that's where we find strength at," Ricky Wright said.

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1 year ago

Father to spearhead private search for missing yacht

Ricky Wright, the Lafayette businessman whose 19-year-old daughter Danielle is aboard the missing yacht Nina off the Australia coast, says he is going to start his own search for the schooner.

New Zealand search officials announced last week they were halting active searches for the missing 70-foot sailboat.

Wright says he has been in talks with Texas Equusearch, the firm that had been involved in the search for Mickey Shunick, to take on a marine search down under.

"We just got through with another call," Wright said Wednesday evening. "We've been talking with Texas Equusearch. They're going to head up things for us."

Wright says that one of the concerns is that Texas Equusearch does not own a long-range patrol aircraft, like the P-3 Orion which New Zealand officials had been using in their search for the Nina, which was last heard from on June 4 after losing its sails in a storm.

"He's talking with some people down there now," Wright said. "We had an hour meeting tonight and a two-hour meeting last night. We are trying to build up some contacts, scrape up some data."

Instead of trying to buy a usable airplane, Wright says the plan is to raise enough money to pay New Zealand for the use of its aircraft in future searches.

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1 year ago

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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1 year ago

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
UNDELIVERABLE
[phone number]
*2
THANKS STORM SAILS SHREDDED LAST NIGHT, NOW BARE POLES. GOINING 4KT 310DEG WILL UPDATE COURSE INFO @ 6PM


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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1 year ago

Father Confident Daughter, Crew Safe in South Pacific

For the first time, we're hearing from the father of a UL student missing at sea thousands of miles away. 19- year-old Danielle Wright is among seven people, missing onboard a small boat in the South Pacific.

She and the others left New Zealand at the end of May headed for Australia. It's a 12,000 mile trip that should've taken 12 days, but at the beginning of June, the group sailed into bad weather and they haven't been heard from since. Despite that, Danielle's family is holding out hope.

Danielle's father, Ricky Wright, tells us he thinks the group had to detour around bad weather and that they're now travelling against the currents, slowly making their way to Australia.


"She's like a fish in the water," said Ricky.

From a young age, Danielle has always loved being in the water. She's a trained scuba diver and an experienced sailor. The family would often hit the high seas.

"We lived on a sailboat for 14 months. Then a couple of years ago, we took a sabattical and sailed in the Carribean," said Ricky.

The sailing trip from New Zealand to Australia is the trip of a lifetime for Danielle. On board the famed schooner Nina, with family friend David Dyche and his family.

Dyche is a veteran sailor, and took a trip across the Atlantic in 1992. But this latest adventure, he and the crew ran into rough weather on June 4th and that's when the ship sent a text message. A crew member named Evi sent the message to a New Zealand meteorologist reporting 60 mile per hour winds and 18-foot waves. The meteorologist told them to head south and brace for a storm. The very next day he received a second text message. It's that text message which gives Ricky Wright, and his family, hope.

But as the Dyche family, who owns the Nina, says, "The Nina always comes back to port."

"She knows how to sail and work the rigging. She's a good first mate. She's always been my first mate when we've gone on sailing vacations," said Ricky.

The Australian Coast Guard has been searching the waters between New Zealand and Australia, but still no sign of the Nina. Those search efforts stopped Wednesday because of more bad weather, but are expected to resume.

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1 year ago

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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1 year ago

UPDATE: Father says text message proves yacht survived storms

A Lafayette businessman whose daughter is aboard a missing yacht off the Australian coast says a text message was received from the crew of the boat after it passed through rough storms last month.

Ricky Wright 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.

Danielle Wright, 18, is one of the people missing on the Nina. Prior to today's information, the boat had not been heard from since June 4, when it was about 370 nautical miles west-northwest New Zealand.

Ricky Wright said the message was not delivered when sent. Because of privacy laws, it took weeks for the U.S. government to authorize the satellite phone carrier to release the message.

"My prediction is they are making 3 knots, and the storm pushed them north of where they thought they would be," Ricky Wright told KATC Wednesday morning. "The main search area was south of where they are."

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) suspended the search for the on Wednesday as bad weather hit the search area reducing visibility. They are using the down time to reassess the search effort.

Along with Danielle Wright were five other U.S. citizens -- three men aged 17, 28 and 58 and two other women aged 60 and 73 -- and a British man aged 35.

The boat, which was built in 1928, left Opua, New Zealand, on May 29, headed for Newcastle, Australia.

Ricky Wright said there were two major storms two days apart, one a rainstorm and the other a wind event. The storms tore the boat's storm sails, limiting its ability to make speed and maneuver as it worked against the currents.

"To put it in perspective, it's like sailing from the Mediterranean to the Bahamas," Wright said. "Everyone follows the same course along the trade winds. They are doing the same thing, just against the prevailing winds."

Wright estimates that the Nina is currently four or five days from making port in Australia.

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1 year ago

Still no results in search for missing yacht

The search for the crew of an American schooner missing en route from New Zealand to Australia ended its sixth day with no sightings of the missing vessel or its life raft.

The 70-foot Nina, with seven people on board, has not been heard from since June 4. One of those passengers, 18-year-old Danielle Wright, is from Lafayette.

To date, the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand has run six searches covering a combined area of more than 613,000 square nautical miles. Two aerial shoreline searches have also been conducted, but no sign has been found of the vessel or its crew.

RCCNZ mission coordinator Geoff Lunt said the search to date has been extremely thorough, covering an area about four times the size of New Zealand. RCCNZ determined the search areas on the basis of drift modelling from the last known position of the yacht.

Lunt said RCCNZ has been in contact with family and friends of the crew and is keeping them informed about the progress of the search effort.

"RCCNZ will evaluate all the areas that have been covered and the information we have gathered, with a view to deciding on the next steps to take," Lunt said.

A New Zealand meteorologist took the last known calls from the seven people aboard an American schooner on June 4, when they asked, "The weather's turned nasty, how do we get away from it?"

Authorities say the skipper of the vessel is American David Dyche. His wife and son are also sailing, as well as one other American man, two American females (including Danielle), and a British man.

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1 year ago

Lafayette teen among those on yacht; Not heard from since June 4th

A Lafayette college student is among those on board a yacht that hasn't been heard from in more than three weeks. We spoke to 18-year-old Danielle Wright's father who says he's certain she's okay. Ricky Wright says he knows the group she was with would have set off the emergency locator beacon if they would have encountered any trouble, and that didn't happen. Wright also says other factors including weather, the currents, and the distance would have made the trip back home much longer than it would usually take. He hopes they'll be arriving back to port sometime next week. Wright says his family, including Danielle, has spent up to 14 months at sea at a time.

According to the Associated Press, a New Zealand meteorologist took the last known calls from the seven people aboard an American schooner on June 4th. They said, "the weather's turned nasty, how do we get away from it?" The classic 85-year-old wooden vessel is sailing from New Zealand to Australia, and they were expected to arrive in mid-June. Authorities say the skipper of the 70-foot (21-meter) vessel Nina is American David Dyche. His wife and son are also sailing, as well as one other American man, two American females (including Danielle), and a British man.

Meteorologist Bob McDavitt said he took a satellite phone call from the boat on June 3rd. A woman named Evi asked how to get away from the weather. "She was quite controlled in her voice, it sounded like everything was under control," McDavitt said, adding that the call itself indicated she was concerned about the conditions. McDavitt said he spoke only briefly to Evi, advising her to head south and to brace for a storm with strong winds and high seas. The next day he got a text, the last known communication from the boat: "ANY UPDATE 4 NINA? ... EVI" McDavitt said he advised the crew to stay put and ride out the storm another day. He continued sending messages the next few days but didn't hear back.

Kevin Banaghan, who is spearheading search efforts by Maritime New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre, said rescuers weren't worried at first because there had been no distress call from the boat and its emergency locator beacon had not been activated. This week, he said, rescuers escalated their efforts. An air force plane on Tuesday searched the area where the boat went missing. A second search by the plane on Wednesday went as far as the Australian coast but again turned up nothing.

Authorities say the storm three weeks ago had winds gusting up to 110 kilometers (68 miles) per hour and waves of up to 8 meters (26 feet).

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