Orange object gives hope to rescuers and family - KLFY News 10

Orange object gives hope to rescuers and family

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The sighting of an orange man-made object off the coast of Norfolk Island located between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, could shed light on the search the missing American Yacht- Nina.

It's been 76 days since the Nina went missing along with seven crew members, including Lafayette local Danielle Wright. Texas Equusearch has been assisting in the search, ever since New Zealand officials called off their search in early July. Ralph Baird, Texas Equusearch Senior Advisor for the search mission said they took the last know position of the Nina and started a model, which includes ocean currents and surface winds. This created a rather large search area, however, a new lead could shrink that area temporarily.

A public satellite imagery tool called TOMnod allows people to identify objects they see in high-resolution satellite photos. Over 56,000 photos have been scanned by thousands of volunteer, but one caught the attention of rescuers.

Baird explained, "One of the volunteers that looked at the pictures reported an object that was interesting. This particular one looked like a life raft of the type that was one the Nina. It has the shape and the size and the characteristics. Although it's difficult to identify, it's more than just an orange dot."

Robin Wright, Danielle's mother said, "It does look like the shape of a life raft and it does look like the dome with the shape of a life raft."

Now, Texas Equusearch has two options. One is to contact the United States Government for a higher resolution image of the possible life raft. Baird said normally they are not allowed access to such data because it is protected by the United States military. Currently, they are relying heavily on option two-following satellite coordinates and searching the area where the orange object was sighted.

"We depend on leads and that's what this is this image is a lead. It's a very important lead and we follow up on all leads and this is the one we are following up on this week," said Baird.

On the home-front, Senator David Vitter's office said they are acting as a liaison between the state government and the Wright family. Also joining the efforts is U.S. Congressman Charles Boustany.

"My office has been in touch with the state department multiple times as well as the New Zealand. It is my understanding that the New Zealand coast guard is being more cooperative with Equusearch." Boustany explained via a telephone interview.

The Wright said they believe their daughter Danielle and her sail-mates are strong, unforgettable and more importantly, alive.

"We're not stopping searching, we really want to see the Nina. We want to see the ship out there."

In addition to the search efforts, representatives of the five families of the seven missing crew members will attend a national press event on Thursday. The press conference will take place at South Shore Harbour Resort in League City, TX at 11 a.m.

Also in attendance will be sailor survivors John Glennie and Steve Callahan. Glennie and three other men survived 119 adrift on the wreckage on the Rose Noelle in 1989. Callahan survived 76 days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean on a life-raft. Both men will be present to provide support to the families.

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