A sigh of relief was felt by the rescuers on Monday when they succeeded in safely evicting severely injured Indian Navy officer Abhilash Tomy, who was stranded in the Indian Ocean, nearly 3,300 km from Australian coast. This was made possible with the help of a French vessel.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman posted a message on tweet account on Monday morning.
A sense of relief to know that naval officer @abhilashtomy is rescued by the French fishing vessel. He's concious and doing okay. The vessel will shift him to a nearby island (I'lle Amsterdam) by evening. INS Satpura will take him to Mauritius for medical attention. @PIB_India— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) September 24, 2018
According to a Defence spokesperson, Commander Abhilash Tomy suffered a serious back injury on Saturday, when his 10-meter boat Thuriya, de-masted in extreme weather that saw 14 meter high waves during the Golden Globe Race. The broken boat was located by an Indian Navy aircraft “rolling excessively” in the South Indian Ocean.
The Defence spokesperson said, “Commander Tomy responded by ping on EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) as the aircraft was flying over him.”
The Defence Ministry said on Sunday that a French vessel Osiris has offered to rescue the Indian naval commander from his location.
Commander Tomy was representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR) on an indigenously-built sailing vessel ‘S V Thuraya’.
Commander Tomy, who was the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in 2013, was the only Indian participating in the race that involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe.
Earlier, it was decided that after completion of rescue operation an Australian Naval ship HMAS Ballarat, which has already left Perth, will pick him up. However, Defence Minister said in her tweet the French vessel will shift Commander Abhilash Tomy to a nearby island (I’lle Amsterdam) by evening. INS Stputra will take him to Mauritius for medical attention.
The organizers of the Golden Globe Race posted Tomy’s distress message in which Commander Tomy complained of vomiting the chest pain.
The Indian naval commander said in his first satellite text message on Saturday, “ACTIVATED EPIRB. CAN’T WALK. MIGHT NEED STRETCHER”. His second message said, “CAN MOVE TOES. FEEL NUMB. CAN’T EAT OR DRINK TPOUGH 2 REACH GRAB BAG”.
He was stranded after he suffered a back injury on Friday as his yacht was hit by a vicious storm with 14-metre-high waves mid-way across south Indian Ocean.
Commander Tomy’s rescue was being closely monitored at Naval Headquarters in New Delhi and also by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre at Melbourne, Australia.