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Parents beg government to find missing daughter

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BATON ROUGE - University of Louisiana-Lafayette Student Danielle Wright and six others have been missing at sea since May 28, but her parents are optimistic she and the rest of the crew are alive.

"Everybody on that boat is strong, capable, experienced and trained in survival," Robin Wright, Danielle's mother explained. "They've been on the water for years."

Their trip was only supposed to last a few weeks, leaving from Opua, New Zealand and sailing toward Sydney, Australia. The Wrights said the crew aboard the Nina hit rough weather June 3, and an undelivered text message surfaced a month later which read, "storm sails shredded last night."

New Zealand officials called off their search in July, and the Wrights have been urging them to start up again since.

In September, a volunteer scanning the open water on tomnod.com, a website used for similar searches of the sea, found an image by Digital Globe believed to be the Nina.

"Joy," Robin Wright described of the news at that time. "I cannot tell you. It's what we had been waiting for, a boat image."

"We've had 13,000 people volunteer their time looking at images and we've searched 100,000 square miles," said Ricky Wright, Danielle's father.

But the couple said it's not enough. The Nina has drifted away since that picture was taken, and there's roughly 500,000 square miles that need to be searched.

That's why the Wrights are begging the federal government to get involved.

"We would love for New Zealand to go ahead and fly out and find her and just be the heroes in this situation," Robin said. "There's no evidence that the Nina sank and I would like to know what they would do if it was their only child on that boat."

"[The federal government] can accomplish in four to five days what has taken us three months to do," Ricky said.

The Wrights have held multiple fundraisers since their daughter went missing. They're trying to keep up with the $10,000 to $20,000 cost of daily plane searches. 

If you'd like to help financially, donations can be made to any Home Bank or their business in Baton Rouge, Acoustical Specialties & Supply, Inc. on Choctaw.

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