Golden Globe Race: INS Satpura, Australian Forces rush to rescue injured Navy commander

Mumbai, Sep 22 : India, Australia and other international agencies have launched a massive effort to rescue a seriously injured Indian Navy commander participating in the Golden Global Race (GGR) 2018, an official said here on Saturday.

Commander Abhulash Tomy is sailing aboard an indigenously built sailing vessel, SV Thuraya, which overturned and dismasted during stormy weather.

The sailor said he has suffered severe back injury, immobilizing him aboard the vessel on the 84th day in the GGR competition, around 5,020 kms from Kanyakumari in the Indian Ocean.

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.

All out efforts are now underway to rescue the sailor with the involvement of a civilian business jet for a visual search of the stranded S.V. Thuraya, Australian military aircraft, besides civilian aircraft which have been requested to attempt communication with Tomy.

A French fishing vessel, Osiris and a Royal Australian Naval ship, HMAS Ballarat, are preparing to set sail from Freemantle Port, Western Australia, on September 24. 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 laying 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.

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