Injured Indian yachtsman plucked to safety from remote ocean

Hugh Fox
September 26, 2018

Australian officials earlier said the French fisheries patrol boat "Osiris" had traveled 740km to Tomy after his yacht, 'Thuriya, ' lost its mast in a storm on Friday, AP reported.

Abhilash Tomy, an Indian naval officer, was competing in the round-the-world Golden Globe Race, which bars the use of modern technology, when his 10-metre vessel Thuriya was thrown off course in the Indian Ocean. "Thereafter, they are likely to rendezvous with Australian Naval ship HMAS Ballarat, which has left Perth to bring him", the Navy said on Sunday evening. He's conscious and doing okay. Indian Naval stealth frigate, INS Satpura with a Chetak helicopter and tanker INS Jyoti (operating in the Indian Ocean) have been despatched for the rescue mission.

When a severe storm hit Commander Abhilash Tomy's yacht sometime on Friday, he must have been approximately 1,550 nautical miles (2,900 km) from land. Later, it was an Indian Navy P-8I aircraft that was launched from Mauritius on Saturday night and was the first to spot Thuriya at 2 am on Sunday.

The Golden Glove Race began at Les Sables-d'Olonne in France on July 1, with competitors sailing solo around the world before returning to Les Sables-d'Olonne. "The plane has sufficient fuel to remain on station for three hours, when her crew will assess the damage to the 36-ft Indian yacht and attempt to make radio contact with Tomy", the race organisers said.

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The rescue mission was jointly coordinated between Indian and Australian Navy.

In the original Golden Globe race, several participants were forced to quit, one refused to finish despite being in the lead and another died by suicide after stepping off his boat.

A spokesman with the Indian Navy told Sky News that the 39-year-old is "conscious" and "can talk".

"However, given the extremely remote location and the condition of his yacht, it was deemed the appropriate course of action to abandon his yacht under a controlled evacuation scenario as the opportunity arose". The alternative would have been to continue sailing singlehanded without the aid of self-steering (also smashed in the capsize) and risk having to call on the Rescue Services again should he be disabled further in another storm.

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Sharma said Tomy was No. 3 in the race when his yacht was damaged.

The officer was taking part in a round-the-world race by solo sailors - the Golden Globe Race, which eschews modern gizmos like Global Positioning System.

Tomy's yacht is a replica of the Suhaili, which Sir Robin Knox-Johnston sailed in 1968 and won.

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