Navy Officer, Stranded In Indian Ocean, Rescued In International Mission

Commander Abhilash Tomy Rescue Operation: The officer is conscious and has been shifted to the French fishing vessel Osiris

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Commander Abhilash Tomy was shifted to the French ship on a stretcher.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Abhilash Tomy was stranded in Indian Ocean near Australia since Friday
  2. He was taking part in the Golden Globe Race, among the toughest races
  3. The race involves 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe

Navy officer Abhilash Tomy, stranded in the Indian Ocean near Australia since Friday after a deadly storm hit his solo boat, has been rescued, the Navy spokesperson said. Commander Tomy, who suffered a spinal injury, is conscious, relieved and has been shifted to the French fishing vessel Osiris. The Osiris had sent a stretcher, water and first aid kit on a small boat.

The whole operation was being directed by an Indian Navy P-8 aircraft which was flying overhead.

"We are expecting an Australian frigate to reach the Osiris soon and Tomy will be shifted to it. We will decide if we have to take him to Perth or Chennai," Navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma said.

Commander Tomy's vessel was hit by a vicious storm mid-way across the south Indian Ocean while taking part in the Golden Globe Race, among the toughest races on Earth. His one-man sail boat, the Thuriya, lost its mast in the storm. The boat rolled completely in a storm with wind speeds of 130 km and 10-metre-high waves.

The 39-year-old Kirti Chakra awardee suffered a back injury and was trapped in his bunk. He sporadically communicated through text messages with race organisers.

"...depending on his medical assessment, we will either remove him from the yacht or tow the yacht, most likely to Amsterdam which is about 180 kilometres away. Then we can get medical assistance from a doctor who is at the research station there," Australian Maritime Safety Authority's search and rescue manager Alan Lloyd had said before the rescue.

Yesterday, an Indian Navy P-8 reconnaissance aircraft managed to spot Commander Tomy's boat located approximately 5,020 km due south from Kanyakumari.

"Commander Tomy responded by ping on EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) as the aircraft was flying over him," the Defence spokesperson said.

His rescue was closely monitored at Naval Headquarters in New Delhi and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at Melbourne, Australia.

The first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in 2013, Commander Tomy was the only Indian participating in the race that involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe. He was in third position in the race and has sailed over 10,500 nautical miles in the last 84 days, since the race started on July 1.



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