A French ship has rescued an injured Indian sailor stranded for more than two days in the southern Indian Ocean, more than 3,700 kilometers off Australia’s west coast.
Abhilash Tomy, a 39-year-old Indian naval commander, was competing in a round-the-world Golden Globe Race when his boat was hit by a major storm 82 days into the contest.
According to race organizers, Tomy was in third place when his 36-foot sailboat, Thuriya, rolled in the storm, breaking its mast and severely injuring Tomy.
The French ship that reached Tomy on Monday was part of a multi-nation effort to rescue the sailor, along with Indian and Australian navy ships.
Indian navy spokesman Capt. D.K. Sharma said Tomy “has been pulled out on a stretcher by a French fishing vessel. He is conscious and is in safe hands.”
Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted, it was “a sense of relief” to know Tomy was OK. She said he would be transported to a nearby island by Monday evening. An Indian naval frigate would then take him to Mauritius for medical care.
Phil Gaden, Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue officer, said Tomy had injured his back and is “very restricted in his ability to maneuver. We also know he’s having difficulty keeping fluids down.”
A few hours after Tomy’s rescue, the French vessel also rescued Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin, whose boat had lost its mast in the same storm. But McGuckin managed to repair his boat enough to sail it to within a few kilometers of Tomy.
McGuckin was not hurt and will be transferred to an Australian naval vessel.
The Golden Globe Race is a nonstop, single-handed sailing race that involves a grueling 48,000-kilometer solo circumnavigation of the globe. No modern equipment is allowed, except for communication devices.
Competitors set sail from France on July 1.
“I’m sure he [Tomy] would have brought laurels to the country. Unfortunately, this feat could not be completed,” Sharma said. “But we are very happy that he’s safe and sound, and we’ll soon have him back.”
Source: Voice of America