National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 25 September 2018
Injured solo sailor rescued succesfully by French fisheries patrol vessel | Abhilash Tomy ‘concious and talking’
Media update 07:30 UTC 23.9.2018 Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Day 4 of the rescue of injured Indian Golden Globe Race solo sailor Abhilash Tomy from his dismasted yacht Thuriya approximately 1,900 miles SW of Perth Western Australia.
The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris reached Tomy’s yacht at 05:30 UTC and her crew successfully transferred him to the ship. The Joint Rescue Co-ordingation Centre in Canberra which co-ordingated the rescue reported: “Tomy is concious, talking and onboard the Orisis. Australian and Indian long range P8 Orion reconnaissance aircraft are circling overhead. Thuriya’s position is 39 32.79S and 78 3.29E
Weather conditions are favourable: 15-20knots from the South West, 2m swells and good visibility. A radio briefing was held between the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on Reunion Island, a doctor located on Amsterdam Island, and the master of the Osiris before the French crew boarded Thuriya from Zodiac inflatable boats to administer immediate first-aid and assess his condition.
Abhilash Tomy, 39, is a Commander in the Indian Navy and has been confined to his bunk, unable to move since his yacht was rolled through 360° and dismasted in a vicious Southern Ocean storm last Friday.
Fellow GGR skipper Gregor Mcguckin whose yacht Hanley Energy Endurance was also dismasted in the same storm last week, is making 2.2 knots towards Thuriya’s position, sailing under jury rig. The 32-year old Irishman is still 25 miles to the West and in radio contact with the reconnaissance aircraft. He is not in distress but has asked for a controlled evacuation from his yacht.
Faced with a 1,900 mile sail across the Southern Ocean to Western Australia under a small jury rig and without an engine (his fuel was contaminated when the yacht capsized), this is a responsible decision taken by a professional sailor when all the rescue assets are close by. 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.
Once the two solo yachtsmen are safely aboard the Osiris the French fisheries patrol ship will proceed to Amsterdam Island where the rescued sailors will be given a full medical examination. The hospital on Amsterdam Island is well equipped with X-ray and ultrasound equipment.
Race organisers continue to work closely with The Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre and are extremely grateful for the efforts being made by all involved.
Credits: Golden Globe Race
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.