12 Jan 2017

Missing pair's Tasman crossing: Private investigator wants Alan Langdon charged

12:52 pm on 12 January 2017

The private investigator hired to find missing six-year-old Que Langdon says her father should face charges.

Alan Langdon and his six-year-old daughter have not been heard from since 17 December when they left Kawhia Harbour aboard this catamaran, bound for the Bay of Islands.

Alan and Que Langdon left Kawhia Harbour in Waikato on this small catamaran one week before Christmas (file photo). Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

Yachtsman Alan Langdon defied the odds by crossing the Tasman Sea with his daughter in a tiny sailboat with a broken rudder.

Que Langdon, six, and her father Alan Langdon have not been heard from since they left Kawhia on a sailing trip on 17 December.

Alan and Que Langdon Photo: Facebook

Mr Langdon and Que were reported missing after leaving Kawhia Harbour in Waikato on a small catamaran on 17 December.

Australian authorities told New Zealand police on Wednesday afternoon they had been found in the town of Ulladulla in New South Wales.

Child Recovery Services contractor Col Chapman, who was hired by Que's mother Ariane Wyler to find Que, alleged the voyage was an attempt to take the girl and elude the family court system.

A member of the public in Australia recognised the pair from the posters Mr Chapman distributed up the coast.

He said Mr Langdon should face charges - as he left New Zealand and entered Australia illegally. Que had no passport, he said.

He hoped to learn today whether any charges would be laid.

Mr Chapman said Ms Wyler was over the moon her daughter was safe. She had started to wonder if there had been a mishap at sea.

Mr Chapman said Ms Wyler had been advised by a lawyer not to speak publicly, as the matter was before the family court, but she wanted to express her thanks.

"Ariane would very much like to thank New Zealand search and rescue authorities, and to everyone who has supported her beliefs that he was coming to Australia. She feels very vindicated over that, now that he has landed here. And to New Zealand citizens, she's so grateful."

'I learnt a lot about sailing'

Mr Langdon told the Milton Ulladulla Times that one of the catamaran's rudders broke four days into the journey. He was left to steer with one rudder.

"I tell you I learnt a lot about sailing," he said.

"Yes we are safe and well. We were always safe, we just couldn't let anyone know."

Mr Langdon told the Milton Ulladulla Times that he and his daughter were looking forward to some much needed rest and planned to spend the night in a motel.

When asked about his daughter's wellbeing Mr Langdon said Que was "happy".

"We had plenty of food and saw lots of whales," he said.

Mr Chapman said he was not surprised they had reached Australia - he had said all along he believed Mr Langdon's voyage was an attempt to take Que and elude the family court system.

Many had believed the pair would not make it, he said.

"It was thought that no one in their reasonable mind would attempt it, but they did, and landed safely," he said.

Mr Chapman said it was not clear how long the journey took, but he believed the pair had been in Australia for about two days.

New Zealand police carried out an extensive search of the sea and coast between Wellington, Cape Reinga and the Bay of Islands, before it was called off last week. Interpol alerted Australian authorities about the missing pair on Monday.

The police said the possibility Mr Langdon had sailed to Australia was always considered. They said the Australian authorities were yet to officially identify the pair found in Ulladulla, but they believed it was Mr Langdon and his daughter.

Mr Chapman told RNZ: "Alan and Que are now with the Australian authorities - our border and immigration authorities."

'Elated and thrilled'

Mr Chapman said Ms Wyler was "elated and thrilled and beside herself with glee" but at the same time very confused. It was unclear at this point whether she would travel from Switzerland to Australia or to New Zealand, he said.

Missing 6-year-old Que Langdon. Her mother believes she has been taken by her father, Alan Langdon, to avoid custody action - has hired a Child Recovery Services contractor to find them.

Ariane Wyler and her daughter, Que Langdon Photo: SUPPLIED

Ms Wyler's flatmate in Golden Bay, where she was living before returning to Switzerland to care for her mother, said she was "ecstatic".

The flatmate, Kelcey Chandler, said Ms Wyler knew from day one it was more than likely they were headed for Australia.

"She's now packing her bags and trying to get some sleep because it's the middle of the night in Switzerland," Ms Chandler said.

Mr Chapman said whatever happened next was up to the New Zealand and Australian authorities.

"Que has no passport, and Alan didn't exit New Zealand legally or enter Australia legally, but in my opinion Que will be returning to New Zealand," Mr Chapman said.

The New Zealand police said they were liaising with their counterparts in Australia and awaiting further information about Mr Langdon's journey.

"Police will take time to assess all the information about today's development, and the background to this matter before any further steps required from a police perspective are considered and agreed," a spokesperson said.

Alan Langdon and his 6-year-old daughter, Que, were reported missing after leaving Kawhia Harbour in Waikato on a small catamaran on 17 December. Australian authorities told New Zealand police this afternoon they had been found in the town of Ulladulla in New South Wales.

Alan and Que Langdon left Kawhia Harbour on 17 December and were found in the town of Ulladulla in New South Wales on 11 January. Photo: Google