Search Called Off For Panama City Family Lost At Sea

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand - New Zealand officials say they've called off their search for a Panama City based sailboat that's been missing for a month.

The 7-crew members, including a panama city couple and their teenaged son, are presumed dead.

The yacht's owner, David Dyches, his wife Rosemary, and their 17-year-old son David Jr. are missing.

"This is the day I knew was going to come eventually and it's the day I've been dreading," says Rosemary Dyche's son, Justin Donovan.

Donovan last saw his mother Rosemary Dyches and his step father David Dyches a couple years ago for Christmas.

Since then, his parents and 17-year-old brother David Dyches, had been traveling the world on an 85-year-old, 70-foot schooner named the Nina.

"They got to experience all these different places, different cultures, and that's really what their trip was all about," says Donovan.

The Dyches lived in Panama City for a number of years.

Rosemary Dyches even worked at St. Andrew's Marina.

Then, they decided to make the Nina their new home.

They began traveling to places like the Galapagos Islands and the Mediterannean Sea.

But, on June 4th the Nina and crew ran in to a bad storm in the Tasman sea off the coast of New Zealand.

The last known contact came from a Nina crew member, asking a meteorologist about the weather.

New Zealand's Rescue Coordination Centre conducted several aerial searches the last 11 days, covering close to 200,000 square miles. But, they didn't even found any debris.

"I really respect the job that the searchers did, I know RCC New Zealand put in a great effort trying to find them, and I applaud them for it. A needle in a haystack barely covers what they had to go through," says Donovan.

Still, Donovan wishes the search could've gone on a little longer.

"I'm not going to see my mom, my brother, or David anymore. It's not an easy thing," Donovan told NewsChannel 7's Kati Weis.

A candlelight vigil will take place Thursday July 11 at St. Andrew's Marina. That would have been David Jr's 18th birthday.