Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy rescued in remote WA waters

Security       Indian Navy in desperate hunt to find badly injured sailor far away from help at sea
       
       	        Amrita Nayak Dutta         23 September 2018

The yacht, which was "severely damaged with gear hanging over the side", was located in Australia's search and rescue zone 2,200 miles southwest of the Australian city of Perth, Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue officer Phil Gaden said during a news conference.

An global rescue team is trying to reach a seriously injured Indian sailor who is taking part in the Golden Globe round-the-world race.

Australian rescue authorities are leading what has become an worldwide rescue mission after the yacht encountered a severe storm. He managed to send an initial message saying he has a severe back injury and is immobilised, unable to eat or drink.

A satellite text message from Tomy indicated that rescuers were racing against time and weather to get close to the Thuriya. "He is conscious, and he is safe", an Indian navy spokesman Captain D.K. Sharma told reporters.

HMAS Ballarat left Perth on Saturday night, joining the Adelaide-based P-8A Poseidon, which was deployed to France's Réunion island to help with the search, the Australian Defence Force said.

Commander Abhilash Tomy’s stranded vessel Thuriya | @indiannavy  Twitter
Commander Abhilash Tomy’s stranded vessel Thuriya | @indiannavy Twitter

'Once the two solo yachtsmen are safely aboard the Osiris the French fisheries patrol ship will proceed to Amsterdam Island where the rescued sailors will be given a full medical examination. The naval commander also said, "Can move toes". The alternative would have been to continue sailing singlehanded without the aid of self-steering (also smashed in the capsize) and risk having to call on the Rescue Services again should he be disabled further in another storm.

A highly decorated Navy officer, Abhilash Tomy is the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe, a feat he achieved in 2013.

Race officials had sent messages to Tomy informing him of the latest updates to the rescue plan, but were concerned when he no longer returned their messages, suggesting he was possibly "now too weak to transmit", they said. Tomy's 36-foot yacht, the Thuriya, is a reproduction of the Suhaili, which won the first Golden Globe 50 years ago with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston at the helm. Friday's storm, which damaged the vessel, whipped up 70-knot winds and 14-metre (45ft) waves, and also knocked down the yacht of another competitor, Dutchman Mark Slats, twice, BBC reported.

Organisers said the rest of the race fleet had headed north to avoid a second vicious storm approaching from the west.

The Golden Globe Race began at Les Sables-d'Olonne in France on July 1.Competitors sail single-handed around the world before returning to the same port. He was in third position in the race and has sailed over 10,500 nautical miles (19,446 km) in the last 84 days, since commencement of the race on July 1.

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