Abhilash Tomy: Injured Indian sailor to be rescued 'soon'

Abhilash Tomy rescued conscious says Navy spokesman

A sailor who sustained a crippling back injury during a round-the-world solo yacht race in the remote southern Indian Ocean was rescued Monday after reportedly surviving for three days on iced tea.

The yacht is in Australia's search and rescue zone 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometers southeast of the French island Reunion.

Injured Indian Navy naval officer Abhilash Tomy was rescued from sea, and was shifted to the French vessel Osiris on Monday afternoon.

Tomy was able to communicate using a texting unit, after his satellite phone was broken.

AMSA, which is coordinating the search, said the crews saw that the yacht was dismasted but did not get further information about Tomy's condition.

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The Indian navy spokesman was quoted by NDTV as saying that Tomy sent a "ping" with his Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, or EPIRB, when aircraft approached his position.

The Australian Rescue Coordination Centre at Canberra is coordinating the rescue mission in conjunction with several agencies including the Australian defence department, the navy said, adding it has dispatched stealth frigate - INS Satpura with a Chetak helicopter and tanker INS Jyoti operating in the Indian Ocean - for the mission. "We also know he's having difficulty keeping fluids down", Gaden said.

An Australian fisheries vessel "Osiris" is also heading towards the location.

A subsequent message read: "CAN MOVE TOES".

Another sailor in the Golden Globe Race, Irishman Gregor McGuckin, had also lost his mast on Friday near Commander Tomy and would also be rescued.

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According to the sailor's website, Abhilash Tomy was the first Indian to sail around the world in 2013. Journalist Shiv Aroor, who has been live tweeting the developments said, "Wave heights of 5-8 metres being experienced in the area right now".

Race officials had sent messages to Tomy informing him of the latest updates to the rescue plan, but were concerned when he no longer returned their messages, suggesting he was possibly "now too weak to transmit", they said.

In the original Golden Globe race, several participants were forced to quit, one refused to finish despite being in the lead and another died by suicide after stepping off his boat.

The Golden Globe, which kicked off in France on July 1, is a 30,000-mile circumnavigation, with competitors eschewing all modern tech (e.g., GPS), save for satellite communications.

Most of the 11 competitors still in the race were further north and avoided the worst of the storm, organisers said.

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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.

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