Navy sailor hurt in storm, drifting in Indian Ocean

Saul Bowman
September 24, 2018

With those words, an Indian navy rep revealed the status of sailor Abhilash Tomy, who'd placed an emergency call from his yacht during a bid to make it around the world in the Golden Globe Race.

Injured Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy, representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR), was rescued from the Indian Ocean with the help of Australian Navy and French vessel Osiris on Monday.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the rescue after Tomy's 10-metre vessel was dismasted, said the yacht was about 3,500km west of Perth "in remote seas and in bad weather".

His yacht Thuriya had its mast broken during a severe storm in the Indian Ocean.

"Defence support is being provided following a request from the Australian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre".

Race officials had sent messages to Tomy with the inteniton of keeping him updated with the rescue plans.

An Indian Navy P8i Poseidon long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft that flew out of Mauritius established visual contact with the Thuriya early on Sunday morning, the Indian Navy said.

Initially, Tomy will be taken to Amsterdam Island in the Southern Indian Ocean, about 100 nautical miles north of the rescue position, by the end of the day from where the Indian naval stealth frigate INS Satpura is expected to pick him up by the end of this week.

The SV Thuriya
The SV Thuriya Credit

Both masts on his 36ft-long (11m) classic yacht, Thuriya, were taken down by the storm and were seen hanging over the vessel's side.

An Irish sailor, whose yacht also lost its mast as part of the Golden Globe yacht race, will be picked up after the rescue as he is uninjured.

Given the extent of his injuries he is likely to spend time on HMAS Ballarat, which will get there on Friday and can take him back to Perth.

India's defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted that it was "a sense of relief to know that naval officer" Abhilash Tomy was "rescued by the French fishing vessel".

Tomy was participating in the iconic Golden Globe Race when he ran into a massive storm that crippled the yacht and left the naval officer incapacitated.

Mr Lloyd said there were concerns Tomy had suffered a spinal injury and that his activity on board his vessel had been minimal, but said that would be assessed when the Osiris arrived.

Competitors set sail from Les Sables-d'Olonne, France.

Started in 1966, the competition involves circumnavigating the globe without any modern technology except satellite communications.

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