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Friday
Jun282013

Search for Americans Lost at Sea in New Zealand Suspended 

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A crew of seven people, including six Americans, went missing earlier this month in the Tasman Sea aboard a yacht named Nina. After weeks of searching, officials said Thursday that an aerial search for the group would have to be suspended due to bad weather.

David Dyche, along with the wife, their teenage son and a crew of four other people, have not been heard from since June 3, when they were traveling from northern New Zealand to Australia.

The group's last communication came from a 73-year-old crew member named Evi, who used a satellite phone to call a meteorologist in New Zealand.

"The weather's turned nasty, how do we get away from it?" Evi said.

The meteorologist advised her at the time to head south and brace for the storm. The next day, he received a text reading, "any update 4 Nina? …Evi."  That was last that anyone would hear from the vessel.

When the Dyches and their crew last communicated, the dangerous conditions had worsened, with winds up to 68 mph and waves growing to 26 feet.  Officials in New Zealand say it's possible the boat simply lost communication and drifted off course, or that the crew is now on lifeboats.

But Air Force search planes have scoured the seas, and so far they've found nothing.

Search officials say if the weather permits the search will continue Friday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio