One Brit and six Americans missing after yacht disappears off New Zealand coast

Updated: 

One Brit and six Americans missing after yacht disappears off New Zealand coast

A yacht sailing from New Zealand to Australia has gone missing, with seven crew members on board, including one Briton.

The Daily Mail reports that the 70-foot schooner, called Nina, has not made contact since June 4, when it was about 370 nautical miles west of New Zealand. At that time, wind and swells were very rough, with waves of up to eight metres.

The 85-year-old wooden vessel left Opua in the Bay of Islands in New Zealand on May 29, with three American women and three American men, aged between 17 and 73, and one British man, aged 35, on board.

The Australian reports that the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand (RCCNZ) began a communications search on June 14, after family and friends of the crew became worried.

The Nina has a satellite phone, a tracking beacon and an emergency beacon, which has not been activated and two extensive searches by a New Zealand Air Force plane have revealed nothing. No other ships in the area have sighted the Nina.

Searches have now begun to the north and northeast of New Zealand, in case the yacht has drifted.

RCCNZ search and rescue mission co-ordinator Kevin Banaghan said: "We do hold grave concerns for the Nina and her crew, but remain hopeful of a positive outcome."

Authorities would have expected the Nina to reach Newcastle, Australia this week.

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