US Schooner Vanishes Off New Zealand

The last eerie call came in June 3
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2013 9:35 AM CDT
US Schooner Vanishes Off New Zealand
England's maxi yacht Ran crashes through rough seas towards Hobart in Tasman Sea, Australia, near where the Nina disappeared.   (AP Photo/Rolex, Carlo Borlenghi)

Six Americans and a Brit have vanished without a trace on the high seas between New Zealand and Australia, aboard the 70-foot vessel the Nina, CNN reports.The crew was last heard from on June 4 while battling rough conditions—68mph gusts and waves as high as 26 feet—about a week after their historic schooner left New Zealand's Bay of Islands. Friends reported the vessel missing on June 14, and the fact that its emergency beacon was never activated gave rescuers hope. But the picture that's forming of the Nina's last known movements sounds less promising.

A woman aboard the 85-year-old vessel called a New Zealand meteorologist via satellite phone on June 3, asking him, "The weather's turned nasty, how do we get away from it?" They spoke briefly, with Bob McDavitt advising the group to sail south. The following day he received the following text: "ANY UPDATE 4 NINA? ... EVI." After that, the boat vanished, with two aerial searches turning up nothing. More foreboding details, per the AP: The rescue coordinator says the boat realistically should have arrived in Australia two days ago, and the Nina dealt with some leaking issues earlier this year after a new engine was installed. He expressed "grave concerns" to the Age. (More sailing stories.)

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