LAFAYETTE, La. (KPEL) -- Private search efforts continue in the southern Pacific Ocean for missing UL student Danielle Wright, as well as several other passengers and crew members who were aboard the schooner the Nina, which has been missing for more than 70 days.

The Wright family has run into reluctance from government, however, from both New Zealand and the United States. The family has had to enlist the help of Texas Equusearch, the same organization that assisted the search for UL anthropology student Mickey Shunick.

Recalling an example of a Washington State boater who survived for 119 days on a life raft, Texas Equusearch founder Tim Miller said he couldn't understand "why they're [the governments] trying to block us, why they're trying to make us just walk away and quit and give up hope on these seven people on this boat I think is ludicrous."

Search efforts are now concentrated around a section of ocean near Australia, an area encompassing some 300,000 square miles.

Nina search photo
Nina search photo
Nina search photo
Nina search photo, Texas Equusearch

The search was narrowed to this area through an analysis of drift patterns, and though he thought their analysis was "accurate," Miller acknowledged that the search area was "huge."

"We're making every effort to reach out to every resource that we can possibly reach out to," Miller said.

The search effort is being funded largely through voluntary donations, organizers have said. On "Your Afternoon Drive Home" Thursday, Ralph Baird, a geophysicist with Texas Equusearch, said an aerial search could cost as much as $14,000 a day.

Because of the extraordinary expense of such an operation, the Wright family is asking for help in financing the effort. To that end, donations are being accepted at:

  • All Home Bank locations. Make checks payable to Robin Wright under account number 2059321602.
  • Sunbelt Business Brokers, 2701 Johnston Street, Suite 300, Lafayette, La.
  • Texas Equusearch through the organization's website, Nina Search Fund must be added to the comments as special instructions,  organizers said.

To listen to the full interview with Wright and Baird on "Your Afternoon Drive Home," click on the play button below.

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