Air Force search finds no sign of missing yacht

Rosemary and David Dyche in November, 2012
Rosemary and David Dyche in November, 2012

A search by an Air Force plane today for any sign of the American schooner Nina in the ocean off the North Cape has ended without success.

The seven-strong crew of the classic 21-metre racing yacht, which was sailing to Australia from Opua in the Bay of Islands, was last heard from on June 4.

The Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) today sent an Air Force P3 Orion to search an area northeast of Northland.

The plane arrived at the search area about 8am and searched until about 4pm using visual and radar methods to look for any sign of the missing schooner or its life raft.

``Today's search covered an area of 4830 square nautical miles. Visibility was good, but unfortunately there was no sign of the missing life raft or schooner,'' said RCCNZ mission controller Mike Roberts.

Today's search followed an extensive aerial shoreline search along the northern west coast of New Zealand, an area determined by the RCCNZ based on drift modelling from the last known position of the yacht on 4 June and two days of coastal searching.

RCCNZ is liaising with Rescue Coordination Centre Australia (RCC Australia), and will continue to review search options. RCC Australia is assisting RCCNZ with broadcasts on coastal radio. New Zealand Maritime Radio is continuing to conduct broadcasts in New Zealand's search and rescue region.

Mr Roberts said the search was under review and a debrief would be held overnight before a decision on the next stage of the search operation.

The 84-year-old wooden vessel, owned by American David Dyche, 58, was heading for Newcastle, Australia.

Mr Dyche was travelling with his 60-year-old wife, Rosemary, their son David, 17, a 35-year-old British man and well-known maritime technology expert Evi Nemeth, 73.

An 18-year-old American woman and 28-year-old American man were also on board.

They left the Bay of Islands on May 29 and their last communication was a text on June 4.

- APNZ

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