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Missing young sailor returns home

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2009-12-22

Laura Dekker, a teenager who went missing after a court blocked her attempt to sail around the world, has returned to her home country of the Netherlands.

REUTERS - Dutch teenager Laura Dekker, who went missing last week after child welfare authorities thwarted her attempt to become the youngest person to sail single-handed around the world, has returned to the Netherlands.

Dekker, 14, was found on the island of St. Martin in the Dutch Antilles on Sunday after she went missing from her father’s home on Thursday. She flew back to the Netherlands late on Monday.

“She has landed,” police spokesman Bernhard Jens said on Tuesday, adding that the authorities would take Dekker in for questioning.

Jens said it was not yet certain whether a criminal offence had taken place, adding: “We want to ask her how did you do it?  Did someone help you and if so, who helped you.”

Once police have finished questioning her, the teenager will be handed over to welfare officers.

Born on her parents’ boat in New Zealand, Dekker spent the first four years of her life at sea and had intended to start a two-year solo voyage round the world on her 8.3 metre (27 ft) yacht Guppy. on Sept. 1 when she was still 13.

Dekker’s plans to sail into the record books earned her attention from the international media but a Dutch court blocked her departure and placed her under state supervision, saying the trip posed risks to her safety.

Date created : 2009-12-22