Sailor Abby Sunderland rescued from Indian Ocean
Sailor Abby Sunderland has been rescued from her 40-foot sailboat, Wild Eyes, by the crew of the French fishing ship, Ile De La Reunion.
Times staff writer Jennifer Bennett reports that Sunderland, 16, was said to be in good health after being pulled from her damaged vessel in the Indian Ocean, 2,000 nautical miles off western Australia, at 7.45 p.m. AEST.
Abby's parents, Laurence and Marianne, posted the following update on their daughter's blog just after 7 a.m. Saturday:
Abby was safely transferred to the French fishing vessel Ile de la Reunion in the early hours of our morning. Fortunately, the weather had calmed down enough that a dinghy was able to be dispatched for Abby to climb into and to bring her close to the 100' steel vessel.
We were able to speak to Abby very briefly once the transfer was complete. She sounded tired but good. She had a good sense of humor but was clearly in the early stages of coming to grips with everything.
We don't have much more info at this time. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Center is working with other ships in the area to determine another transfer to a vessel that will either bring her north of Mauritius to the island of La Reunion or east to Perth, Australia. Either way, it will likely be several weeks before Abby is back home in California.
We would like to give our immeasurable thanks to all of those involved in Abby's successful rescue. Especially to the authorities, both national and international, that have worked together to successfully conduct this rescue. These include MAMSA RCC Australia, Maritime RCC La Reunion, Qantas, WA Police, Fire and Emergency Services Authority of Western Australia, Defence and the three ships which are responding. Their professionalism and the great value that they placed on Abby's life has been a gift to us that we can never repay. Thank you for caring for our daughter as if she were your own, for answering all of our many questions cheerfully and completely and for going above and beyond our wildest expectations to keep Abby safe.
We are not certain what will happen to Wild Eyes at this time. It is highly unlikely that she will be able to be saved. As we told Abby this morning, she is the most valuable piece of 'equipment' on that boat. The loss of Wild Eyes will be felt deeply by Abby who poured so much blood, sweat and tears into her and who has been, in a sense, one with her for many months now.
A rescue effort went out for the Thousand Oaks teen early Thursday morning, after she manually activated one emergency-beacon locating device on her survival suit or life vest and another on her sailboat from the southern Indian Ocean.
Sunderland was just past the halfway point of her attempt to become the youngest person to solo circumnavigate the globe.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: Abby Sunderland organizes line as she and her father Laurence Sunderland sail her 40-foot vessel, Wild Eyes, from Ensenada, Mexico, to Marina del Rey prior to her departure on her solo circumnavigation attempt. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times
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