Dutch teen sailor found

Dec. 21, 2009 at 10:29 AM
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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Laura Dekker, the 14-year-old who announced her intention of sailing around the world alone, has been found in the Netherlands Antilles, officials said.

Dekker, missing since Friday, was found on the Caribbean island of St. Maarten, Radio Netherlands reported Monday. She was detained Sunday after police recognized her from an international alert photograph.

Officials did not provide information on Dekker's condition nor how she arrived on the island, the broadcaster said. Police said they were making every effort to return her to her home and family in the Netherlands quickly.

A police spokesman in Utrecht said "a lady in St. Maarten spotted Laura and alerted local police."

Dutch child protection services made Dekker a ward of court in October to prevent her from setting out on the solo voyage. The court allowed her to keep living with her divorced father, but it wasn't known if she would be returned to his custody, Radio Netherlands reported.

A family spokesperson earlier said she left a note for her father and that the girl's yacht was moored in a harbor in Gelderland province. Radio Netherlands reported unconfirmed accounts that the teen withdrew roughly $5,000 from her bank account.

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