LEAGUE CITY, Texas -- She was a world-class schooner and once the flagship of the New York Yacht Club. But in June, the Nina went missing and officials later called off the search.
Six Americans and a man from Britain had been sailing from New Zealand to Australia when a storm rolled in.
The crew included the captain, David Dyche, his wife Rosemary, and their 17-year old son. A grandmother from Colorado, a college student from Baton Rouge, a graduate student from Nebraska, and an environmentalist from England were also onboard.
Their families said they are all survivors.
“They could be sick, they could be injured, and they could be in very dire circumstances,” mother Robin Wright said. Her only child, 19-year old Danielle Wright, is among the missing.
On Thursday in League City the families met for the first time since the disappearance to announce that they hired the private firm EquuSearch to help find their loved ones. Its members include John Glennia, who survived 119 days at sea, and Ralph Baird, who helped in the search for Natalie Holloway.
“The seven crew on the Nina are not dead,” Ralph Baird said. “John Kerry and the Department of State said they are.”
The relatives believe a text message received after the initial search proves the search was conducted and concluded in the wrong place. They now want to go back.
“If it were your child out there, I’m sure you’d be doing the exact same thing,” Robin Wright said.
The families are now raising money to pay pilots for a second search. They will be hosting a fundraiser Friday night from 6-9pm at the South Shore Harbour Resort Conference Center at 2500 South Shore Boulevard in League City.
The event is open to the public and costs $25 a person. Entry includes both a pasta dinner and a silent auction.
Information on the search can be found at www.evxx.com.