Stranded officer Abhilash Tomy rescued by French ship

Stranded officer Abhilash Tomy rescued by French ship

Nearly four days after a violent storm left him incapacitated and stranded in his sailboat in the middle of southern Indian Ocean, Commander Abhilash Tomy of Indian Navy was rescued on Monday.

He was picked up by the French fishing vessel ‘Osiris’ which responded to an SOS from a massive joint operation launched by Indian and Australian maritime forces.

“A sense of relief to know that naval officer Tomy is rescued by the French fishing vessel. He's conscious and doing okay. The vessel will shift him to a nearby island (I'lle Amsterdam) by Monday evening. INS Satpura will take him to Mauritius for medical attention,” tweeted defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

The Indian naval frigate, which left Cape Town on Saturday is expected to reach the sub-Antarctic island by Friday.

The 39-year-old Navy officer was representing India in his vessel Thuriya in the Golden Globe race – a 30,000 nautical mile solo unassisted circumnavigation trip around the world. Tomy completed 10,500 miles in the last 84 days before being hit by the storm.

The French vessel reached Tomy’s yacht around 12 AM. The crew successfully transferred him to the ship on a stretcher as he was unable to move. He was given water and first aid before shifting him to the French ship that has medical facilities.

Tomy was confined to his bunk, unable to move since his yacht was rolled through 360 degrees and dismasted in a vicious Southern Ocean storm last Friday. The broken mast is now hanging on the side of his yacht.

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.

“Tomy is conscious, talking and onboard the Orisis. Australian and Indian long-range P8 series reconnaissance aircraft are circling overhead,” the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre reported soon after the Indian officer was rescued.

The Kirti Chakra awardee was on his second solo circumnavigation trip after its maiden attempt in 2012-13. The difference between the two voyages is that Tomy was a special invitee to the Golden Globe race in which sailors from around the around are in competition to sail around the globe without any modern navigational aids.

“Relieved that Indian Navy Commander Tomy has been rescued from his location in the southern Indian Ocean. Appreciate our French and Australian friends for being part of the maritime effort to reach and assist this brave voyager. I wish him a speedy recovery,” tweeted President Ram Nath Kovind.

The capsized yacht 'Thuriya' is pictured at sea in this handout photo released by the Indian Navy on Monday. (Image/ Indian Navy)


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