Could this image above be the orange life raft of the American schooner Nina, missing in the Tasman Sea? If not, what is it? The object, photographed on August 03, has raised fresh, if faint, hopes that, like famed stories of others who survived at sea for long periods, the crew of the Nina could be still surviving somewhere on the ocean.
Is this the Nina’s orange life raft?
However, New Zealand search and rescue authorities have rejected requests to resume an official search for the missing yacht.
A privately funded New Zealand plane is now searching the sea near Norfolk Island and in the Tasman Sea after dozens of people studying satellite images reported seeing what they believe is a liferaft possibly from the missing yacht.
The 85-year-old Nina left Opua, in the Bay of Islands, on May 29 bound for Newcastle, Australia, with seven crew on board.
It was last heard from on June 4, when conditions in the Tasman were very rough, but searching only began on June 25. New Zealand authorities called off the official search on July 4.
Nina in happier days
A Facebook site set up by crew families says they have raised enough money to hire a twin-engine Cessna F406 owned by Gisborne based Kiwi Air Ltd,to fly an area where a crowd-sourcing tool exploring 56,000 satellite pictures spotted a bright orange object.
It is known that Nina carried a bright orange liferaft.
The crew of the plane reports that the weather in the search area is good this morning.
The RCCNZ had provided the Texas-based EquuSearch group with drift modelling for the object and position identified, but did not believe it was significant.
'In short, RCCNZ has not received any information that would warrant reconsidering the suspension of the search,' the centre spokesman said.
Nina had on board skipper David Dyche III, 58, his wife, Rosemary, 60, son David Dyche IV, 17, Evi Nemeth, 73, Kyle Jackson, 27 and Danielle Wright, 18, all Americans. Also aboard was Matthew Wootton, 35, a leader of the British Greens, who refused on environmental grounds to fly, yet nursed a fear of drowning at sea..