Published: Wed, September 26, 2018
Global Media | By Jackie Banks

Aid on way to solo sailor with broken mast and severe injuries

Aid on way to solo sailor with broken mast and severe injuries

The Indian Navy has dispatched its stealth frigate, INS Satpura with a Chetak Helicopter and tanker INS Jyoti in a bid to rescue Commander Abhilash Tomy, representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR), on an indigenously built sailing vessel "Thuriya".

The yacht is in Australia's search and rescue zone 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometers southeast of the French island Reunion.

Tomy had suffered a serious back injury Friday after his yacht was damaged in a storm while representing India in the worldwide solo circumnavigation Golden Globe Race (GGR) 2018.

As per latest updates, French vessel Osiris has rescued Cdr @abhilashtomy of Indian Navy. He will be moved to an island nearby from where INS Satpura will move him to Mauritius for treatment. "There was no way to talk to him after the race began", she said.

It was Indian Navy P-8 aircraft that spotted Commander's boat earlier on Sunday.

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

He said Tomy had an injured back.

A French vessel, Osiris, rescued Tomy from his location, The Indian Express reported.

Australia joins bid to rescue injured Indian sailor in remote ocean

On September 20, Commander Tomy told the race coordinator that his wind mast was broken but he was okay.

Fears had been growing for Tomy's safety as conditions in the isolated region can be treacherous, with strong winds and high waves buffeting the yacht and rescue vessels.

He later sent messages confirming he'd activated his EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), but was unable to walk and "might need a stretcher". The Australian authorities said there were concerns because Tomy had suffered a spinal injury and his activity on board his vessel had been minimal, but they added that situation would be assessed when the Osiris arrived.

Tomy was a part of the support crew during 2008-10 for the first Indian solo circumnavigation by Donde.

Ahead of the GGR flag-off from the coast of Les Sables dOlonne in France on July 1, there were survival workshops which Cdr Tomy underwent where the participants were taught about use of life-saving equipment, he said.

"Faced with a 1,900 mile sail across the Southern Ocean to Western Australia under a small jury rig and without an engine (his fuel was contaminated when the yacht capsized), this is a responsible decision taken by a professional sailor when all the rescue assets are close by", the race organizers wrote.

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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