An Indian sailor injured competing in an around-the-world sailing race while in the Indian Ocean has been rescued three days after he sent out a distress signal.
Abhilash Tomy was rescued by a French fishing vessel on Monday approximately 3,300km from Perth in Australia.
The 39-year-old Indian Navy officer suffered a serious back injury on Saturday when his 10-metre boat, Thuriya, de-masted in extreme weather that saw 14-metre high waves during the Golden Globe Race.
He will be transferred to nearby island Ile Amsterdam by evening and an Indian Navy frigate will then take him to Mauritius for medical attention, India’s Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a Twitter post.
A sense of relief to know that naval officer @abhilashtomy is rescued by the French fishing vessel. He's concious and doing okay. The vessel will shift him to a nearby island (I'lle Amsterdam) by evening. INS Satpura will take him to Mauritius for medical attention. @PIB_India
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) September 24, 2018
“He is conscious and safe. Rescue efforts were delayed because of 8-to-10-metre-high waves and heavy winds,” a spokesperson for the Indian Navy said.
An Indian Navy aircraft launched from Port Louis in Mauritius early on Sunday had established visual contact with Thuriya. The Navy also posted images of the boat with its broken mast on Twitter.
Organisers of the Golden Globe Race posted Tomy’s latest distress message on Sunday, in which the Indian sailor complained of vomiting and chest pain.
“ACTIVATED EPIRB. CANT WALK. MIGHT NEED STRETCHER,” Tomy said in his first satellite text message on Saturday.
A subsequent message read: “CAN MOVE TOES. FEEL NUMB. CAN’T EAT OR DRINK. TOUGH 2 REACH GRAB BAG.”
The badly damaged SV Thuriya picked up by an Indian Navy P8I – inside is the badly injured Cdr Tomy. Rescue vessels rushing to him. pic.twitter.com/gV0viYC62V
— Manu Pubby (@manupubby) September 23, 2018
Tomy is the only Indian to complete a solo circumnavigation around the world in a boat in 2013.
The Golden Globe Race, a gruelling 48,000km solo circumnavigation of the globe, began this year from France on July 1.
Tomy was in the third position and had sailed nearly 20,000km in the last 84 days.