Money running out in yacht search
A private search by a New Zealand plane for missing American yacht Nina is continuing in the Tasman Sea this afternoon but families backing it are running out of money to continue.
The plane owned by Gisborne based Kiwi Air Ltd is searching areas near Norfolk Island where dozens of people have reported seeing on satellite photos what they believe is a life-raft possibly from Nina.
The 85-year-old Nina left Opua, in the Bay of Islands, on May 29 bound for Newcastle, Australia, with seven people aboard.
It was last heard from on June 4, when conditions in the Tasman were very rough, but searching only began on June 25. New Zealand authorities called off the official search on July 4.
No trace of the boat has been found.
Early today a spokesman for the search operation, John Funnell, said they would have to stop flying at mid-day as money was due to run out.
But after the deadline he said Kiwi Air had agreed to keep flying this afternoon as sea and weather conditions are ideal.
"Hopefully your efforts at fundraising will allow us to continue tomorrow, as there are targets that you all have help identify ahead of us search area wise," he said.
The private search is costing around $25,000 a day.
An online crowd sourcing tool is being used to explore 56,000 satellite pictures of the Tasman Sea. The photo of the lift raft was taken on August 4.
The families have called a press conference tomorrow in Houston, Texas, which is billed to feature New Zealand mariner John Glennie. He was skipper of the trimaran Rose Noelle which capsized in the Pacific in 1989 and drifted for 119 days before washing up on Great Barrier Island. All four men aboard survived.
Glennie now lives in the United States.
A Facebook page set up by crew families says they will use the conference to appeal for more money from the public. They are also trying to pressure Washington to send in US military aircraft into the region to help look.
New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre has declined to reopen the official search.
"In short, RCCNZ has not received any information that would warrant reconsidering the suspension of the search," the centre spokesman said.
Nina had on board skipper David Dyche III, 58, his wife, Rosemary, 60, son David Dyche IV, 17, Evi Nemeth, 73, Kyle Jackson, 27 and Danielle Wright, 18, all Americans. Also aboard was Matthew Wootton, 35. A leader of the British Greens, he refused on environmental grounds to fly.
- © Fairfax NZ News