Father Of Missing Lafayette Teen To Spearhead Search For Sailboat Off New Zealand Coast
LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- The father of a 19-year-old Lafayette woman is spearheading an effort to find his daughter who was on a yacht that went missing off the coast of Australia a couple weeks ago.
Ricky Wright believes his daughter, Danielle Wright, is very much alive, and he is coordinating with Texas Equusearch--the same non-profit organization that assisted in the search for University of Louisiana at Lafayette student Mickey Shunick--for their world-renown expertise.
The problem, Wright says, is money. New Zealand called off its search for the sailboat, the Nina, last week, so Wright is trying to raise the money that would allow Texas Equusearch to take up the search while using the valuable equipment, such as the long-range patrol aircraft New Zealand was using.
"New Zealand is a...large country but a small population and they don't have a lot of tax dollars," Wright says. "So I'm hoping to raise monies to be able to pay [New Zealand] and reimburse them for their time using their aircraft and go back out there again."
The Nina and its crew were expecting six days of clear weather, Wright says, but on the fourth day, he says the boat ran into a "big storm that had like 25-foot seas in it. And then, within a day or two, they hit another storm that had 60 mile an hour winds...After that storm, they had a third storm with about 20-foot waves again."
Wright says he knows the ship survived the second storm because a text message was received that was originally undelivered at the time it was sent. That text message said the boats sails were damaged due to high winds but that it was still moving at four knots per hour, according to a report from KATC TV-3.
If you would like to help fund the search effort, you can send your donation to:
C/O S/V Nina Search Fund
P.O. Box 395
Dickinson, TX 77539
To listen to the full interview with Wright, click on the 'Play' button below.