American Boaters Missing at Sea Near New Zealand; Family Awaits - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

American Boaters Missing at Sea Near New Zealand; Family Awaits News

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Half way across the world, authorities are searching for an American family of 3 with ties to Bay County, missing at sea along with their 4 crew mates since June 4th.

Back here at home, Kevin and Justin Donavon are anxiously awaiting news of their mother, stepfather and brother.

They're searching for answers; anything at this point that will give them an idea what has happened to their family, who was sailing their historic yacht from New Zealand to Australia before all went silent.

"Whenever they make port, one of the first things they would do is find out where they could get an Internet connection," said Justin Donovan.

He is used to following his family's trek across the world via Facebook; pictures and status updates depicting the trip of a lifetime, sailing on their 85 year old schooner, Niña.

Their stepfather, David Dyche, is the captain. The Donovan brother's mother, Rosemary Dyche, is his first mate and along for the trip, is their teenage brother.

Now, those posts grow silent. The crew hasn't been heard from since June 3rd.

"The further it got away from their perspective arrival date, the more worried we started to get," said Justin.

ABC News reports the Dyche's crew mate, Evi, used a satellite phone to call a meteorologist in New Zealand, saying "the weather's turned nasty, how do we get away from it?"

They were told to head south and get ready for a storm. A text the following day would be the final correspondence.

The silence has been hard to take for brother, Kevin, who once sailed Trans-Atlantic in the Niña for three years as a teen.

"I haven't talked too much about it honestly, so...I'm trying to avoid it," said Kevin.

Both are trying to prepare themselves.

"I want to stay hopeful, but at the same time, reality, you know...the sea can be very unforgiving," said Justin.

"I hope something great happens…," said an emotional Kevin.

They tell us the Dyche's left from St. Andrews Marina in 2007 to begin their voyage.

According to ABC, officials in New Zealand say its possible the boat simply lost communication and drifted off course or that the crew is now on lifeboats.

So far, things have remained silent for two waiting brothers here at home.