More than eight months ago, Louisiana couple Ricky and Robin Wright's 19-year-old daughter Danielle went missing in a 70-foot wooden sailboat named Niña, which had left New Zealand bound for Australia. But while they believe Danielle is alive and adrift somewhere on the Pacific Ocean, New Zealand authorities are treating it like a closed case.
They believe the ship was battered by a storm as the crew attempted to cross the Tasman Sea and say there's no real chance any of those on the ship are still alive after a search turned up no sign of the vessel.
Still, any parent could understand why they've spent $600K of their own money, fundraised dollars, and even used Danielle's college fund to pay for private plane searches. They also lived in Australia for the past three months conducting their own search well after New Zealand authorities threw in the towel. Really, anyone with a heart could see why Ricky Wright would have earned his pilot's license, with the goal of flying the Australian coastline in hopes of seeing something that alluded to his daughter's survival.
Robin recently told the AP:
We cannot assume the boat sank without evidence, and we think it's highly likely that it did not. We know there's a chance the boat sank. There is a chance. But do you assume the worst and stop searching?
To answer her question, of course not! Especially not when they're so obviously dissatisfied with authorities' official search. The Wrights say it began too late, wasn't extensive enough, and failed to restart when they showed authorities a grainy satellite image they thought showed Niña adrift.
On the other hand, those in charge of the investigation say they did everything they could and that the military even took a look at the picture the Wrights provided and said it was "nothing more than the foam from a wave." Ugh.
And given how things are looking now, Ricky Wright admits:
After a year, I think the chances are down pretty low. But we will not give up on them. We know other people have survived up to a year.
Sounds to me like even if they want to or say they'll give up once it's been a year, they may struggle to. But who could fault them for it? I would think just about anyone else in their position would do the very same.
What would you do if you were in the Wrights' position?