The search for the missing racing yacht Nina now shifted towards Norfolk Island with an Air Force Orion leaving no stones unturned.
Norfold Island (wikicommons)
According to Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand spokeswoman Rosemary Neilson, the Air Force One plane started the search early today. The plane was instructed to continue searching over 6000 nautical miles.
In an interview with The New Zealand Herald, Ms Neilson said, "The plane will be flying low and slow in a tight zigzag. Obviously time is passing and concerns are increasing, but searchers remain optimistic."
There was no deadline set for the search for the 84-year-old wooden vessel Nina which was heading for Newcastle Australia.
The passengers who had been lost were Nina's owner David Dyche, 58, his wife Rosemary, 60, their son David, 17, British man Matthew Wootton, 35, and acclaimed maritime technology expert Evi nemeth, 73. Daniella, 18 and Kyle, 28, both Americans were also on board Nina.
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The last clear message gotten from the group was last June 4. It had been a month now and family members fumble for hope as they desperately wait for positive news.
Parents of passenger British man Matthew Wootton said their son refuses to ride a plane during traveling because of his environmental beliefs. Mr. Wootton is a Green Party activist. He had worked for a communications company before making a global tour which he started in 2010. He had been travelling mostly across North and South America and just recently in New Zealand. He was on the final leg of a three-year round-the-world trip on board Nina.
In an interview with Daily mail, Mr Wootton's mother Susan said, "We just the New Zealand coastguard to keep on looking for the boat. They've only searched one third of the area they should be searching."
Mr Wootton's sister, Lara Inwood, emotionally shared that her brother is a classically trained cellist and was planning to stay a few months in Australia before returning home.
Ms Inwood said, "He is very environmentally aware and so he has been travelling by boat and public transport. He has been staying with local people in all the places he's been and is interested in learning bout different cultures. I believe he was travelling to Asutralia from New Zealand to spend a few months there before coming back home."
A family friend of the Wootton's told Daily Mail that, "He has been gone three years now. He won't fly for environmental reasons so he's been going everywhere by boat. He started in America, then went South America and then the Polynesian Islands and new Zealand. It is very distressing, it doesn't seem real. We have known Matt since he was 13 or 14. He's very clever. He likes writing; I think he's writing a book about his journey. He's also a talented musician, speaks several languages, and is really a lovely young man."
Cherie Martinez, sister for Nina's owner Mr Dyche's fear for the worse - the passengers to be lost at sea forever and to never know what happened to them. She told New Zealand Herald that she feared for the rescue operation will be decided to be stopped before families can know what happened to their loved ones.
Ms Martinez said, "At the end of the day I would rather find out they made it okay, which is better, or at least debris or something so I can call closure. But for them to be lost at sea and never be heard of again, that will be very difficult. It's a rollercoaster. One day you think they will make a phone call, the next you're resigned to have lost them at sea... Deep down I think at times they are lost but this boat has always made it to shore. It's lost its mast, it's gone through rogue waves through the Pacific, the Atlantic a couple of time, it has sailed even without engines - it was built to race."