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French boat rescues injured Indian sailor from yacht in remote southern Indian Ocean

French boat rescues injured Indian sailor from yacht in remote southern Indian Ocean
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CANBERRA, Australia — A French ship on Monday rescued an Indian sailor who was injured in the remote southern Indian Ocean when his sailboat lost its mast in a storm during a round-the-world solo yacht race, officials said.

India’s defence minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted that it was “a sense of relief to know that naval officer” Abhilash Tomy was “rescued by the French fishing vessel. He’s conscious and doing okay.” She said the ship would take Tomy to a nearby island by evening and an Indian navy frigate would then take him to Mauritius for medical attention.

Indian navy spokesman Capt. D.K. Sharma said Tomy, 39, was sailing in a solo around-the-world sailboat race called the Golden Globe Race.

Started in 1966, the competition involves circumnavigating the globe without any modern technology except satellite communications. This year’s race began in France on July 1.

He s resting in the sickbay of the ship

“He has been pulled out on a stretcher by a French fishing vessel. He is conscious and is in safe hands,” Sharma said. “He’s resting in the sickbay of the ship.”

In this file photo taken on July 01, 2018 India’s Abhilash Tomy gestures on his boat “Thuriya” as he sets sail from Les Sables d’Olonne Harbour at the start of the solo around-the-world “Golden Globe Race” ocean race in which sailors compete without high technology aides such as GPS or computers.

Sharma said the rescue operation involved the Royal Australian Navy, the French vessel and India’s navy.

Australian officials earlier said the French fisheries patrol boat Osiris headed 740 kilometres (460 miles) to Tomy after his yacht, Thuriya, lost its mast on Friday.

The yacht was in Australia’s search and rescue zone 3,500 kilometres southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometres southeast of the French island of Reunion, said Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue officer Phil Gaden.

He said Tomy had an injured back.

The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris, which helped to rescue the stricken sailor.

“We do know he’s got a very severely injured back and we believe that he’s very restricted in his ability to manoeuvre. We also know he’s having difficulty keeping fluids down,” Gaden said.

Tomy had been keeping in contact with rescue authorities through text messages, but batteries on his two devices were running low, Gaden said.

Another sailor in the Golden Globe Race, Irishman Gregor McGuckin, also lost his mast on Friday near Tomy and will also be rescued, Gaden said.

Sharma said Tomy was No. 3 in the race when his yacht was damaged.

“I’m sure he would have brought laurels to the country. Unfortunately, this feat could not be completed,” he said. “But we are very happy that he’s safe and sound and we’ll soon have him back.”

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