Child recovery expert: Kiwi yachtie allowed back to sea with daughter

Police have allowed Kiwi yachtie Alan Langdon back to sea with his young daughter but he has been ordered to call Australian authorities daily.

Child recovery expert Col Chapman said Langdon had left the New South Wales fishing town of Ulladulla where he had arrived this week with his 6-year-old daughter Que and was now headed to Port Campbell where he was expected to contact Australian border patrol.

He was also required to call police daily by phone until he reached the Victorian town, about 100 nautical miles north from where his crippled vessel arrived after an epic 26-day Tasman Sea crossing.

The journey was expected to take a day.

Langdon, 49, and Que left Kawhia Harbour on December 17 bound for the Bay of Islands on a 6.1m catamaran. They had not been heard from until yesterday when New Zealand police confirmed the pair had been found safe in Ulladulla.

A major sea and air search was launched along the North Island's western coastline after the father and daughter failed to turn up in the Bay of Islands.

Langdon, an Australian citizen, told the Milton Ulladulla Timesthe voyage was hampered by one of two rudders breaking at sea.

An Ulladulla local recognised the pair and alerted Australian authorities.

Langdon was taken in for questioning yesterday by Customs and immigration officials but allowed to sail north to register his arrival with Australian border control.

Chapman said he had spoken to Que's mother Ariane Wyler who had been assured that if her estranged partner were to come ashore for any reason during the journey he was required to present himself to authorities about his movements.

Wyler now intends to leave Switzerland where she had been nursing her sick mother and head back to New Zealand in the hope of being reunited with her daughter.

In the meantime, Australian authorities were waiting for New Zealand police to intervene. That order could only come from a high-ranking officer and was expected either today or tomorrow, he said.

The circumstances of the Langdons' departure from New Zealand would also be looked at.

A spokesperson for the Australian Federal Police said they were aware the father and daughter were in Australia but what happened next was a matter for New Zealand authorities.

The Australian police would help New Zealand authorities as and when required.

A New Zealand Customs spokeswoman said anyone wanting to sail out of New Zealand must first report to a designated Customs place for immigration clearance and then get a maritime clearance.

They must also sail where they intend to sail and then report in.

Most people sailed out of Opua, she said.

According to the Australian Government's Department of Immigration and Border Protection when sea travellers arrive at an Australian port they need to present their passports and completed passenger card to officials.

Australian immigration law requires all travellers arriving in and departing from Australia to identify themselves and provide certain information through the completion of a passenger card.

New Zealand police were yesterday liaising with their transtasman counterparts and awaiting further information about Langdon's journey.

They were now assessing all information before any further steps were considered.

- NZ Herald

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