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Rescue effort underway for teenage sailor Abby Sunderland

June 10, 2010 | 11:09 am

My former colleague Pete Thomas is among the first to report on his blog that a rescue effort has been launched in hope of finding teenage sailor Abby Sunderland, who set off her emergency beacon locating devices from the southern Indian Ocean early Thursday morning.

Sunderland, 16, who has been attempting to sail around the world alone, endured multiple knockdowns in 60-knot winds before conditions briefly abated.

However, her parents lost satellite phone contact with her early Thursday morning and an hour later were notified by the coast guard at French-controlled Reunion Islands that both of Sunderland's EPIRB satellite devices on board her vessel Wild Eyes had been activated.

One of the devices is apparently attached to a survival suit and is meant to be used when a person is in the water or a life raft.

Abby's father said he didn't know if his daughter was in a life raft or aboard the boat, or whether the boat was upside down.

"Everything seemed to be under control," Laurence Sunderland, struggling with his emotions, told Thomas. "But then our call dropped and a hour later the coast guard called."

The Sunderlands are asking people to pray for their daughter, a high school junior from Thousand Oaks.

Outposts has been following Sunderland's journey, and will keep readers updated as more information is available.

-- Kelly Burgess

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