Australian media reported Sunday that an orange-yellow speck — possibly a life raft — spotted in one of roughly 56,000 satellite photos of the Tasman Sea is injecting fresh hope into the search for a missing Lafayette teenager and her fellow crew members who vanished along with the antique yacht they were sailing from New Zealand to Australia more than 70 days ago.
Eighteen-year-old Danielle Wright of Lafayette was one of six Americans and a Briton aboard the Nina when it disappeared in stormy weather on June 4. According to one media account, the yacht’s last contact on that day was a call to a New Zealand meteorologist: “The weather’s turned nasty, how do we get away from it?”
The Nina had an orange life raft.
Wright’s parents, Ricky and Robin Wright, haven’t given up hope that their daughter will be found alive with the crew, although numerous government and private searches for the missing vessel have so far proved futile. The couple teamed with Texas Equusearch to ramp up the effort to locate their daughter and her companions.
According to information released last week by the family, “New drift models have narrowed the enormous area to about 300,000 sq. miles where the Nina is believed to have drifted.” The Wrights also point to the recent rescue after more than 90 days adrift at sea of an Arizona family as reason to believe Danielle is still alive:
The substantial difference in these two stories is the fact that Nina is drifting in an area where there are no boats passing or planes flying over, and Nina is caught in very strong currents that are holding her captive without a motor or sail/wind power to escape them. If we don’t come to their rescue, it could take several additional months before Nina to drift back to New Zealand or Australian shores. We are still hopeful that our US government will decide to initiate a new search with the permission of the New Zealand Coast Guard.
The quest to bring their daughter home, however, is costing the families of the missing crew members a fortune. Donations to aid the search can be made at all area locations of Home Bank. The account number is 2059321602 and checks should be made payable to Robin Wright. Donations are also being accepted at the Wrights’ business, Sunbelt Business Brokers at 2701 Johnston Street and through an account set up at the Community Foundation of Acadiana.
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DEC 8 - Maybe that wasn't such a good idea, after all. This post on the Louisiana Oil & Gas Association's site says we're looking at oil prices that are tanking because there's so much oil coming out of the Gulf. Some are even predicting a glut. What's likely to be the result? Lower gas prices, higher refinery profits, and more pressure on the feds to loosen export restrictions.
DEC 8 Here's the latest from blogger Robert Mann, and it's on one of his favorite topics: Bobby Jindal. He's taking a look at Jindal's record and his current maneuvering, which of course is a ploy to position him for a run for the White House. "America Next," Jindal's current big idea, is just as vague about what it is proposing as Jindal usually is, Mann says. And it won't protect him from his "unimaginative record," as Mann describes it.
DEC 8 - Don't know what that is? Then run on over to LaPolitics and read this post by Jeremy Alford, which serves as a history lesson about the famed tonic and it's purveyor, Dudley LeBlanc. It's really a fascinating story and Alford's description of Dudley as an "icon of Louisiana politics and culture" is not an exaggeration.
DEC 8 In this editorial, the Picayune again urges Gov. Jindal to take the Medicaid money. But the piece's exhortation that Jindal "be sensible" is a little misplaced, isn't it? Because Jindal's not being stupid -- well, maybe he is -- but he's following orders from people he believes can get him into the White House. This editorial is engaging in the argument that Jindal is publicly making, without acknowledging what his true motivations are. Somebody send these guys a clue.
DEC 8 Columnist Mark Ballard is writing about the impact of Vance McAllister's defeat of Neil Riser in this post. He starts out talking about how McAllister's more reasonable approach was more attractive to voters than was Riser's hard-line (tea-party-ish) rants. Dan Claitor, a state lege from BR who is expected to run for Congress soon, expressed it best when he said voters aren't looking for candidates who are "throwing temper tantrums when they can't get their way."
DEC 8 It's always gratifying when a Louisiana son makes international headlines. And our son, David "former KKK grand poobah" Duke is back in the news, making us all proud. This (UK) Telegraph story, unearthed by the Dead Pelican, tells us that Duke has been expelled from Italy but is trying to return. The Italians say he is trying to "establish a pan-European, extremist neo-Nazi group in northern Italy." Huh. You don't say.
DEC 9 This is a kind of puzzling post from columnist Jim Beam, in which he discusses a recent appearance by former Gov. Edwin Edwards in Lake Charles. He said he's surprised by EWE's "grasp of current events." Did Jim never meet Slick Eddie? He's no dummy, and for Beam to assume he is -- well, given he covered the man for 50 years, that's the surprise.
DEC 9 A "suspicious package" shut down part of Zachary Sunday, WAFB tells us in this post. The package, which eventually was "rendered safe" (bomb squad lingo for blown up) was found in a storage unit that someone quit paying on. Other cop gear was found in the unit, so it is possible the thing was a training tool, police say. But they leave out the best part: who bought it? Barry, Jarrod or Darrell?
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