Texas Equusearch joins effort to find 7 boaters missing since June


Even those the yacht went missing off the coast of New Zealand, family members are relying on a Houston area rescue operation to help save their loved ones.

Family members of six Americans and a Briton gathered in South Shore Harbor on Thursday, hoping to bring more attention to the search of the yacht Nina, missing off the coast of New Zealand since June. College student Danielle Wright is among the crew.

Danielle's mother, Robin Wright, said, "We have a lot of faith and we have a lot of hope. We believe that they're doing everything they can to survive and they're just waiting for us to find them."

Danielle's parents traveled from Louisiana to bring attention to the search for the yacht, now spearheaded by Texas EquuSearch. Sue Wootton traveled all the way from England.

She said, "How can you give up hope if there is even one percent chance they're out there alive?"

Sue's son Matthew is also on that yacht. All seven, say friends and family, were excited to sail from New Zealand to Australia. But nobody's heard from them since June 4. When New Zealand authorities stopped searching weeks ago, the worried families enlisted the help of Texas EquuSearch, which is now conducting daily flights over the waters.

"We're very hopeful," said Ralph Baird with Texas EquuSearch. "We have no evidence that the ship has sunk, no evidence. We always find evidence. So there's no evidence, so the evidence is that the ship is standing upright."

Here in Texas, the hope for a happy reunion in New Zealand remains alive.

"They're strong and they're courageous and they have a lot of survival skills," Robin said.

Family members are still holding out hope and harnessing the help of volunteers who are scouring satellite images for any hint of what happened to the missing yacht.

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