Injured Indian sailor rescued days after yacht capsized in ocean

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Indian Navy's decorated sailor Commander Abhilash Tomy was rescued from the Indian Ocean on Monday, three days after he suffered a severe injury when the main mast of his boat was ripped off in a storm, officials said.

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.

A spokesperson of the Australian Navy has informed that injured Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy will be rescued within hours.

The yacht was in Australia's search and rescue zone 3,500 kilometres southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometres southeast of the French island of Reunion, said Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue officer Phil Gaden.

Abhilash Tomy, a 39-year-old commander in the Indian navy, was taken from his smashed boat, Thuriya, approximately 1,900 miles west of Australia by a French fisheries patrol boat. INS Satpura will take him to Mauritius for medical attention.


Gregor McGuckin, 32, from Dublin had been nearly 2,000 miles south west of Perth in western Australia, taking part in the Golden Globe Race, when he became dismasted.

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.

Cdr Tomy, a reconnaissance pilot with the Navy, also underwent training as part of his commissioning and on-the-job training which makes him a very strong person, Cdr Donde said.

The rescue was likely to be complex due to Mr Tomy's injuries and damage to the yacht, Mr Gaden said.

Sail-World.com expresses our gratitude to the Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, and to all other parties involved in this rescue, and we wish Tomy the best of luck with his recovery. He is not in distress but has asked for a controlled evacuation from his yacht. Given that his stricken vessel is only capable of making a few knots, VMG, and given the remoteness of his location, McGuckin wisely understood that requesting help now would place rescue crews-not to mention himself-in considerably less danger than if he actually required rescue during a future storm.


Cdr. Tomy, an experienced sailor, is the only invitee from Asia in the prestigious GGR that commenced from Les Sables d'Olonne harbour in France in July.

"The alternative would have been to continue sailing single-handed 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".

Top Navy officers and Commander Tomy's mentor speak about his courage and determination.

Race organizers had said Sunday that poor weather conditions had delayed the arrival of the first ship to Tomy until Tuesday, but the French vessel had later made good progress.

Commander Tomy, who became the first Indian to have circumnavigated the globe in 2013, is the only Indian participating in the Golden Globe Race that involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe.


Racers must use yachts similar to the one Sir Robin Knox-Johnston used during his round the world adventure of 1968-1969.

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