India, Australia attempt to rescue injured Indian Navy commander

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New Delhi: Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy, who is stranded in the south Indian Ocean following his boat wreck during the Golden Globe Race 2018, is safe and would be rescued soon, the Navy said on Sunday.

“Commander Abhilash Tomy of the Indian Navy, representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 is in the south Indian Ocean, approximately 1,900 nautical miles south-west from Perth, Australia and about 2,700 nautical miles from Cape Comorin… All efforts are being made to rescue him,” the Navy said.

“Indian Navy P-8I aircraft operating ex-Mauritius has visually sighted ‘Thuriya’ (the boat in which he was sailing) on Sunday. Continuous watch over the boat is being maintained by Indian Navy and RAAF aircraft” and this will continue till the rescue operation is completed, it said.

Officer Tomy was taking part in the race on an indigenously built ‘Thuriya’ and suffered a back injury on Friday after a massive wave wrecked the boat, immobilising him aboard the vessel on the 84th day in the GGR competition, around 5,020 kms from Kanyakumari in the Indian Ocean.

The Australian Rescue Coordination Centre at Canberra is coordinating the rescue mission in conjunction with several agencies including the Australian Defence Department and the Indian Navy.

The Navy said that Indian Naval stealth frigate — INS Satpura with a Chetak Helicopter and tanker, INS Jyoti operating in the Indian Ocean — have been dispatched for the rescue mission.

“The officer in his last text message has indicated that he is safe on the boat. However, he is immobile due to back injury,” it said.

Late Friday, Commander Tomy managed to relay a message on his SatPhone indicating his condition and seeking help, though he was safe.

The messages were picked up by Indian authorities and Australian Rescue Coordination Centre, Canberra, which is now coordinating a rescue mission jointly with several agencies including the Australian Defence Department and the Indian Navy, a defence spokesperson said here.

“Commander Tomy’s boat was dismasted in extremely rough weather and sea condition, with wind speed of 130 kmph and 10 metre high waves. He was in the 3rd position out of 11 international participants in the GGR competition having sailed over 10,500 nautical miles in 84 days since the race started on July 1,” said the spokesperson.

Tomy is approximately 1,900 nautical miles from Perth on the country’s west coast.

From India, the Indian Navy’s stealth frigate INS Satpura, a Chetak helicopter and a tanker INS Jyoti Mission are engaged in the rescue mission.

In a latest update, the organisers, GGR said that, “there is no indication at this stage if the mast and rigging have been cut away from the hull to prevent damage or are still lying beside the hull”.

Now in its Golden Jubilee year, the 30,000-miles long GGR, kicked off from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France, with all participants sailing solo around the world in around 260 days, to return to the starting point.

(Agencies)