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Search underway for father and daughter

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/12/2016

An extensive search is underway in New Zealand for an Australian man who left the country in a catamaran with his six-year-old daughter while reportedly in the middle of a custody dispute with the girl's mother.

Alan Langdon, 46, and his 6-year-old daughter, Que, sailed from the North Island town of Kawhia on December 17, police said.

Air Force, Coast Guard and other groups were conducting searches and broadcasting alerts, police said.

The child's mother, Ariane Wyler, has reportedly hired Australian child recovery specialist Col Chapman to conduct a private search.

Local media reports that the couple was in the middle of a custody disagreement and Wyler had hired Chapman on a previous occasion to locate Langdon and Que.

Chapman told Radio New Zealand that Langdon, an Australian citizen with family in New Zealand, was possibly trying to make it back to Australia.

Langdon was said to be an experienced sailor, but police said they had "grave" concerns for the pair's wellbeing.

Wyler said she was confident that nothing had happened to her daughter.

"I am strongly convinced that they both are alive, well and safe," Wyler was reported as saying. "I believe in Alan Langdon and his capabilities as a seagoing person," she said.

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