Injured naval officer located by Navy in south Indian ocean

Tomy had suffered a back injury Friday after his yacht was hit by a vicious storm

Kochi: An Indian Navy aircraft has located the vessel of Indian Naval officer Abhilash Tomy, who was badly injured while participating in the Golden Globe Race, “rolling excessively” in the south Indian Ocean, a Defence spokesman said Sunday.

Tomy suffered a back injury on Friday after his yacht was hit by a vicious storm with 14-metre-high waves, midway across the south Indian Ocean. The Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft, which flew from Mauritius in the early hours on Sunday, has located the “mast broken boat rolling excessively”, he said.

“Commander Tomy responded by ping on EPIRB as the aircraft was flying over him,” the spokesman said here. EPIRB or Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon is a device which alerts rescue services in case of an accident at sea.

He said heavy rains have been reported from the area.

The aircraft would fly back after three to four hours and Tomy can only be rescued by naval ships, he said.

Tomy had, on Sunday, managed to get in touch with race organisers in France through messages and had requested for a stretcher as he could not move on his own. He was representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR) on an indigenously-built sailing vessel, S V Thuraya.

Tomy, who became the first Indian to have circumnavigated the globe in 2013, is the only Indian participating in the race that involves a gruelling 48280-km solo circumnavigation of the globe.

His vessel is in the south Indian Ocean, about 1,900 nautical miles from Perth in Australia. The vessel was dismasted in extremely rough weather and sea conditions, with wind speeds of 130 kmh. He was in third position in the race and has sailed over 10,500 nautical miles in the last 84 days, since the race started on July 1.

A report from France on Friday night had said 70-knot winds and 14 metre-high waves have left the yachts of Tomy and Ireland’s Gregor McGuckin dismasted, and twice knocked down the yacht of second-placed Dutchman Mark Slats.

Both McGuckin and Slats had reported that they are okay, but 39-year-old Tomy, making his second solo circumnavigation, has been injured, the report had said.

It also said other entrants were asked to make towards Tomy’s position if possible, and added that the weather was extreme.

The nearest yacht was McGuckin’s Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance, some 145km to the southwest of Tomy’s Thuriya, but she too was dismasted in the same storm.


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