Sailboat carrying 3 Germans missing in New Zealand

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Associated Press

Posted on April 29, 2014 at 2:04 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 9:06 AM

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Three German nationals, including two 19-year-old tourists, are missing off the coast of New Zealand after their sailboat vanished.

Police said Tuesday that an aerial search had ended after turning up no sign of the 7.5-meter (25-foot) craft Munetra. The boat's last communication was April 16 when it left the South Island port of Bluff bound for Preservation Inlet. It was reported missing April 24.

Police said the missing tourists are Lea Tietz and Veronika Steudler, both 19, from the Gorlitz district. Also missing is the boat's captain, 33-year-old Andre Kinzler, a German who has been living and working in New Zealand for the past four years.

Police said a large search team that included two planes and two helicopters had scoured the coastline in the region without success. They said searchers have asked local fishermen and boaters to keep in touch and haven't ruled out future searches.

Inspector Lane Todd said in a statement that Kinzler may have had only limited sailing experience and had purchased the boat within the past year. He said there was no evidence to suggest foul play.

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