Is this the Nina liferaft?

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 11:55 19/08/2013
Nina search

ZEROING IN: The orange object at the centre of today's Nina search.

Nina search plane
Bringing home the Nina and her crew/Facebook
CALLED INTO ACTION: The plane which will search the area where the orange spot was sighted.
Nina crew
Bringing home the Nina and her crew/Facebook
LOST AT SEA: The Nina and her crew.

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LATEST: New Zealand search and rescue authorities have rejected requests to resume an official search for the missing American yacht Nina in the Tasman Sea.

A privately funded New Zealand plane is searching the sea near Norfolk Island and in the Tasman Sea after dozens of people studying satellite images reported seeing what they believe is a liferaft possibly from the missing American yacht 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.

A Facebook site set up by crew families says they have raised enough money to hire a twin-engine Cessna F406 owned by Gisborne based Kiwi Air Ltd,to fly an area where a crowd-sourcing tool exploring 56,000 satellite pictures spotted a bright orange object.

Nina carried a bright orange liferaft.

The crew of the plane reports that the weather in the search area is good this morning.

A spokesman for the Rescue Co-ordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) said the object was photographed on August 3.

The RCCNZ had provided the Texas-based EquuSearch group with drift modelling for the object and position identified, but did not believe it was significant.

"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, who refused on environmental grounds to fly.

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