New Zealand father-daughter reach Australia after a month at sea

Wellington, Jan 12 (IANS) A man from New Zealand and his daughter arrived in Australia after drifting for nearly a month in the Tasman Sea in a small boat, officials said on Thursday.

On December 17, Alan Langdon, 49, and his six-year-old daughter, Que, set off from Kawhia for the Bay of Islands, both in New Zealand’s North Island, but a storm damaged one of the two rudders of the six-metre boat, Efe news reported.

Langdon said that with just one rudder, the safest option was to head towards Australia, where they reached 27 days later at Ulladulla, which is 230 km from Sydney and some 2,600 km from Kawhia.

Langdon added they were never in any danger during their trip and had enough fresh water and supplies.

New Zealand police are investigating whether Langdon, who is involved in a custodial battle over his daughter with his former wife disobeyed a judicial order against taking his daughter out of the country without prior permission.

Langdon’s former wife Ariane Wyler said she suspected Langdon would try to set off for Australia and urged the New Zealand authorities to get her daughter repatriated as soon as possible.