An Indian Naval Maritime Recce aircraft P8I finally spotted Commander Abhilash Tomy’s damaged yacht Thuriya in the middle of Indian Ocean.
They then radioed a nearby French research vessel which rescued the injured Indian Naval Officer Abhilash Tomy.
The Kirti Chakra decorated Officer though injured was fully conscious and stable. He had been left stranded on board his damaged yacht in the remote south-west Indian Ocean after a ferocious storm.
Commander Abhilash Tomy is feared to have suffered a spinal injury when his yacht hit bad weather and got damaged. After rescue he is set to be taken to an island midway between Madagascar and Australia. Ile Amsterdam, also known as Amsterdam Island, is a small French territory in the southern Indian Ocean, midway between Madagascar and Australia.
Commander Abhilash Tomy, Kirti Chakra, Indian Navy, was taking part in the around-the-world Golden Globe Race when his 10-metre vessel Thuriya struck trouble in the south-west Indian Ocean on Friday. Tomy had became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe when he achieved the feat in 2013, and was awarded a Kirti Chakra by the President if India.
The mast on Tomy’s yacht broke when it rolled during a storm and he is understood to have suffered a serious back injury, leaving him confined to his bunk about 1,860 nautical miles or 3,400 kilometres west of Perth. He was in third place in the Golden Globe Race when the storm hit.
Race organisers said a radio briefing was held between the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre on Reunion Island, a doctor located on Ile Amsterdam, and the master of the Osiris, before the French crew boarded Thuriya from Zodiac inflatable boats to administer immediate first-aid and assess Tomy’s condition.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the Osiris would take him to Ile Amsterdam, about 50 nautical miles north, where he would receive further medical attention.
AMSA search and rescue coordinator Phil Gaden said the yacht was in a spot “almost equidistant” from any search and rescue facilities, and it was good news a vessel could arrive so quickly. As it’s one of the most remote areas on the planet,” he said.
Golden Globe Race spokesman Barry Pickthall said officials had received a satellite text message from Tomy in the early hours of Monday morning, ahead of the planned rescue.
“CAN YOU CONFIRM DATE AND TIME NOW?” the message read.
It followed another satellite text message on Sunday.
“LUGGED CANS OF ICE TEA. HAVING THAT. VOMITTING CONTINUINGLY. CHEST BURNING,” he said.
In an earlier message the day before, Tomy said he had activated his EPIRB, could not walk and may need a stretcher.
Mr Lloyd said the area could be “treacherous” during poor weather conditions and was known to cause damage to vessels similar to that suffered by Tomy’s yacht.
“This [French] vessel is actually purpose-built for working in the Southern Ocean and the conditions that you experience there,” he said.
“The crew themselves know the territory very well and in fact we’ve used the same vessel on other occasions, when we’ve had to provide assistance to yachtsman in distress in these areas.
The Royal Australian Navy frigate, HMAS Ballarat, was also on its way to the area but not expected to arrive until Wednesday.