Satellite images give families a glimmer of hope

Families of the seven crewmembers who went missing when the schooner Nina went down in the Tasman Sea in June 2013 were encouraged when satellite images captured on Sept. 15 approximately 184 miles west of Norfolk Island offered fuzzy images of what may have been the schooner or one of its life rafts.

The 85-year-old schooner departed Opua in the Bay of Islands on New Zealand’s North Island on May 29 and was bound for Newcastle, Australia. The schooner was last heard from on June 4, 370 miles off the northwestern tip of the North Island just as New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Center was reporting 26-foot seas and 50- to 70-mph winds in the area. A search for the vessel commenced on June 12 and was suspended on July 6.

Since then family members have relied on the volunteer search and rescue organization Texas EquuSearch to review thousands of satellite images taken of the search area. While the recent image taken west of Norfolk Island may have given the families some hope as to the whereabouts of the crew, New Zealand search coordinators said that they would need a better quality image to resume the search at this time.

Presumed lost are the schooner’s owner, David A. Dyche III, 58, a professional mariner; his wife Rosemary, 60; their son David, 17; Kyle Jackson, 27; Evi Nemeth, 73; Danielle Wright, 18; and Matthew Wootton, 35.

The vessel was equipped with a manual EPIRB, Spot beacon, satellite phone, and VHF radio. No mayday messages were ever received and it is presumed that the schooner sank quickly and before the crew could respond.

By Ocean Navigator