Family convinced Nina crew is alive

The missing American schooner Nina.
The missing American schooner Nina.

New Zealand could be under political pressure from the US to resume the search for the missing schooner Nina.

The 21-metre yacht left the Bay of Islands on May 29 and was heading for Newcastle, Australia - but the seven-strong crew haven't been seen or heard from since June 4.

Families of the missing crew have held a news conference in Texas, telling media they believe their relatives are still alive after a red dot was spotted on a map thousands of miles from the search area.

They're trying to raise more money to continue a private search after rescue operations here ceased three weeks ago.

Texas congressman Charles Boustany is weighing in, saying: "We're going to stay on top of this.

"The US Government is working in tandem with the New Zealand Government and if we feel they're not following through where there should be follow through then of course we'll apply more pressure."

But Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand spokeswoman Sophie Hazelhurst says that isn't justification to start searching again.

"We've always said if we receive any information that justifies resuming the search in any way then we would, but to date that has not happened unfortunately."

Ms Hazelhurst says they need some firm evidence to resume searching for the Nina.

"In the past we've had searches where after several days someone has had a firm sighting of what they believe is the vessel and we have resumed the search at that stage."

Ricky Wright's 18-year-old daughter Danielle is one of the crew and he's convinced she's alive.

"They'll have some devices to catch rainwater and fishing string and hooks and different things like that for survival."

Danielle's mother Robin is convinced she has survived.

"I'm sure they're feeling pretty hopeless out there.

"They don't see any planes, they don't know if we're looking for them or not so hang in there."

Mrs Wright says every day she has to think about her daughter eating raw fish and trying to keep warm.

The group has enlisted the help of John Glennie who, along with his crew, survived for 119 days after the Rose Noelle came to grief in 1989.

He believes the area the Nina is lost in is very survivable.

- Newstalk ZB

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