Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy rescued at sea after injury | News | DW | 24.09.2018
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Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy rescued at sea after injury

A French ship has managed to locate an Indian navy commander who had been injured in the Golden Globe round-the-world race. He was trapped in his bunk, drifting blindly in "one of the most remote areas on the planet."

An aerial photo of Abhilash Tomy's yacht (Reuters/Indian Navy)

An aerial photo of Abhilash Tomy's yacht after the storm

The French vessel Osiris found and rescued Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy on Monday after racing 740 kilometers (460 miles) through the Indian Ocean to reach the stranded 39-year-old.

Tomy was taking part in the Golden Globe race around the world when his yacht was damaged and its mast broken in a storm on Friday. The Indian navy commander sustained a serious back injury.

After boats from the French vessel managed to extract Tomy from his vessel, Indian reporter Shiv Aroor said the commander was "doing okay, conscious & in good spirits."

Earlier, Australian authorities said Tomy was trapped in his bunk, communicating with rescuers via text. However, his main satellite phone was damaged in the storm and his injury made it impossible for him to reach the second satellite phone or the radio, and the batteries on the devices he had been using were running low.

Read more: Storms halt Frenchman Ben Lecomte's swim across Pacific

"We do know he's got a very severely injured back and we believe that he's very restricted in his ability to maneuver," search and rescue mission coordinator Phil Gaden told reporters in Canberra ahead of the rescue.

"The yacht is severely damaged with gear hanging over the side," added Gaden, an official with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

Tomy was stranded in Australia's search and rescue zone, some 3,500 kilometers (2,174 miles) southwest of Perth.

"It's one of the most remote areas on the planet almost equidistant from any of the search and rescue facilities," according to the AMSA official.

'A sense of relief'

On Monday, India's Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that an Indian navy frigate, INS Satpura, would later transport the injured yachtsman to Mauritius.

Participants in the 2018 Golden Globe race are required to sail out alone in a yacht from the French town of Les Sables-d'Olonne and cover some 30,000 miles (48,280 kilometers) in a monthslong attempt to circumnavigate the globe. The boats are not equipped with any modern technology, except communication devices.

The yacht used by Abhilash Tomy is a replica of the vessel used by famous British sailor Robin Knox Johnston to win the first Golden Globe race in 1969. According to Abhilash Tomy's website, the navy commander was the first Indian to sail around the world in 2013.

dj/rt (AFP, Reuters, AP)

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