Solo yacht racer injured and adrift
International rescue effort underway to collect Indian sailor 3,200km from Western Australia
An international rescue effort is underway to save a seriously injured solo yacht racer whose vessel is stricken in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, 3,200 kilometres off the coast of Western Australia.
Indian naval captain Abhilash Tomy was taking part in the Golden Globe solo around-the-world yacht race when a severe storm caused his mast to break.
Tomy managed to send a series of text messages to race organisers using a satellite phone, explaining that his yacht had rolled and been “dismasted”, adding that he has severly injured his back and is unable to move, eat or drink.
In a statement, race organisers said Tomy was “incapacitated on his bunk inside his boat... as far from help as you can possibly be”.
The BBC reports that two military planes, one from Australia and one from India, have flown over the yacht on Sunday to inspect its condition, but “were unable to establish contact with Tomy”.
Race organisers have since revealed that Tomy is unable to communicate via radio as the batteries on his aviation and marine VHF radio have gone dead.
A fellow competitor, Irish skipper Gregor McGuckin, is attempting to reach Tomy, CNN reports. McGuckin’s yacht was also capsized about 90 nautical miles from where Tomy is stranded.
The Australian, Indian and French navies have dispatched vessels to rescue the sailor, however they are unlikely to reach him before tomorrow due to poor weather conditions.
The Golden Globe yacht race rules dictate that the skippers must use only paper charts and the stars to navigate their way non-stop around the world, with no means of making water aboard the vessel.
Each boat is able to carry a GPS and spare satellite phone in a sealed box, however breaking the seal on the box disqualifies the competitor from the race.