A round-the-world solo yachtsman from India immobilised due to back injury in a massive storm at sea was rescued by a French vessel Osiris on Monday.
Abhilash Tomy, above (Image: goldengloberace.com), a decorated Indian Navy commander participating in the Golden Globe race, got injured after 14-metre high waves hit his vessel on Friday in the Indian Ocean 3,500 kilometres off Western Australia.
Tomy, 39, is “OK”now and the French vessel will shift him to a nearby island, said India’s Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Twitter.
Back home in Kochi, his father PC Tomy said he is conscious but tired and dehydrated.
A rescue mission involving the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, a French fisheries patrol vessel and the Indian Navy was unable to contact Tomy as his main satellite phone was damaged. Since Tomy could not move, he was unable to reach a second satellite phone or his handheld VHF radio.
An Indian Navy P-81 aircraft operating from Mauritius spotted Tomy’s indigenously-built ‘Thurayi’ boat tossing in waves on Sunday. Later in the day, two P8 Poseidons, one each from the Royal Australian Air Force and the Indian Navy, flew over the yacht.
Tomy in his last text message had indicated that he thirsty as he did not have a drop of water since the injury.
In 2013, he became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe on board his boat Mhadei. He was honoured with India’s second-highest peace-time gallantry award, Kirti Chakra, for that feat.