Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Navy sailor hurt in storm, drifting in Indian Ocean

Abhilash-Tomy-facebook Commander Abhilash Tomy | via Facebook
Deanna Wagner | 23 September, 2018, 15:22

India, Australia and other global agencies have launched a massive effort to rescue a seriously injured Indian Navy commander participating in the Golden Globe Race (GGR) 2018, an official said in Mumbai on Saturday.

The Golden Globe race involves a single-handed circumnavigation of the globe - a distance of 30,000 miles - without using modern technology, except for satellite communications, Competitors started from France on 1 July; seven boats have so far withdrawn from the race.

A highly decorated Navy officer, Abhilash Tomy is the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe, a feat he achieved in 2013.

An Irish race competitor, Gregor McGuckin, whose own yacht was damaged in the storm, has set up a temporary rig and is attempting to cover the 150km separating him from Tomy's position.

He managed to send a message saying he has a severe back injury and is immobilised, unable to eat or drink. "Osiris" has a medical officer and one bed infirmary on-board, it said. An Australian Navy vessel may be considered for assistance, but that may be 5 days or more away. The Indian Navy has also joined in the rescue effort and has diverted the stealth frigate INS Satapura, which had been forward deployed to the Southern Indian Ocean, to help locate and rescue the commander. Indian Navy is doing their best as they always have. "All-out efforts are being made to rescue Abhilash Tomy".

Tropical Storm Kirk forms off African coast
Some strengthening is forecast through Sunday, with little change in intensity expected on Monday and Tuesday. NHC forecasts keep it at tropical storm strength as it crosses the Atlantic over the next week.

Golden Globe Race organisers said a search and rescue plane, and a Perth-based navy frigate would also help in the rescue.

The GGR website said the external tracking unit on Tomy's boat was still providing position data to the online GGR tracker but the power link to the boat's batteries was damaged and it could soon go flat.

Tomy's vessel was dismasted in extremely rough weather and sea conditions, with wind speeds of 130 kmh. He was in the third position, out of the 18 global participants, and has sailed over 10,500 nautical miles in the last 84 days, since the commencement of the race on July 1, 2018.

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 storm.