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Stranded Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy rescued after three days

Tomy was rescued by a French fishing vessel approximately 3,300km from Perth in Australia.

Abhilash Tomy

An Indian sailor injured while competing in an around-the-world sailing race in the Indian Ocean has been rescued three days after he sent out a distress signal.

Abhilash Tomy was rescued by a French fishing vessel on Monday approximately 3,300km from Perth in Australia.

The 39-year-old Indian Navy officer suffered a serious back injury on Saturday when his 10-metre boat, Thuriya, de-masted in extreme weather that saw 14-metre high waves during the Golden Globe Race.

He will be transferred to nearby island Ile Amsterdam by evening and an Indian Navy frigate will then take him to Mauritius for medical attention, India's Defence Minister Nirmala Sittharaman said in a Twitter post.  

"He is conscious and safe. Rescue efforts were delayed because of 8-10 metre high waves and heavy winds," a spokesperson for the Indian Navy said.

An Indian Navy aircraft launched from Port Louis in Mauritius early on Sunday had established visual contact with Thuriya. The Navy also posted images of the boat with its broken mast on Twitter.

Organisers of the Golden Globe Race posted Tomy's latest distress message on Sunday, in which the Indian sailor complained of vomiting and chest pain.

"ACTIVATED EPIRB. CANT WALK. MIGHT NEED STRETCHER," Tomy said in his first satellite text message on Saturday.

A subsequent message read: "CAN MOVE TOES. FEEL NUMB. CAN'T EAT OR DRINK. TOUGH 2 REACH GRAB BAG."

Tomy is the only Indian to complete a solo circumnavigation around the world in a boat in 2013. 

The Golden Globe Race, a gruelling 48,000km solo circumnavigation of the globe, began this year from France on July 1.

Tomy was in the third position and had sailed nearly 20,000km in the last 84 days.


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