Sailor Rescued At Sea After Dismasting During Round-The-World Race

Abhilash Tomy

Australia joins bid to rescue injured Indian sailor in remote ocean

Abhilash Tomy was rescued by a French ship HMAS Ballarat.

Abhilash Tomy's boat Thuriya lost its mast during a storm as he took part of the round-the-world solo Golden Globe yacht race.

The Australian, Indian and French navies have dispatched vessels to rescue the sailor, however they are unlikely to reach him before tomorrow due to poor weather conditions.

"Yes, he has been rescued by a ship and what I can say is he is mentally stable. INS Satpura will take him to Mauritius for medical attention", defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted after the successful rescue. "There was no way to talk to him after the race began", she said.

Tomy, a 39-year-old commander in the Indian navy, is able to communicate using a YB3 texting unit but his primary satellite phone is damaged.

The Race's website described Tomy as one of India's most prominent sailors and a pilot in the Indian Navy.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said a number of aircraft had reported sightings of Mr Tomy's demasted yacht.

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The defence spokesperson in Mumbai confirmed Tomy was rescued by the French fishing vessel. Tomy was injured and his yacht lost its mast in a storm on Friday. "We all were tense for the past three days...", Tomy, who retired as a Lieutenant Commander in the Indian Navy, the same rank as that of his son, told the media here.

Before the accident, Tomy was in the third position among 11 global participants and had sailed over 10,500 nautical miles since the race began on July 1.

A multinational rescue effort is underway to try to reach an injured sailor whose yacht is disabled in the South Indian Ocean.

In 2010, Cdr Donde became the first Indian to finish circumnavigation of the globe, with five stopovers, while his pupil Cdr Tomy did the same in 2013, without any stopovers.

Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy got stranded in the south Indian Ocean following his boat wreck during the Golden Globe Race 2018. "Plan is to launch two zodiacs (small inflatable boats) with crew to Tomy then attempt boarding and admin immediate first aid", Golden Globe race organizers said in a Facebook post. The Indian navy commander sustained a serious back injury. "But it looks like when he was inside, he suffered an injury to his back, which made him immobile inside the bunk", Cdr Donde said, adding the fate of a satellite phone kept for emergencies is also not known.

Racers must use yachts similar to the one Sir Robin Knox-Johnston used during his round the world adventure of 1968-1969.

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