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Abby Sunderland found safe in Indian Ocean

June 11, 2010 | 12:03 am
A spotter jet over the Indian Ocean late Thursday reported contact with 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, the Thousand Oaks solo sailor who had been stranded in heavy seas and high winds in her quest to circumnavigate the globe.

 The Qantas Airbus contacted the teen by marine radio about 11:30 p.m. Pacific time. The 40-foot boat was upright, but the mast was  knocked off by rough seas, said Jeff Casher, a technical advisor for the voyage.

He said Sunderland was in good health and had plenty of food as she planned to wait for the arrival of a rescue boat in about a day.
The teen's parents "understand she is perfectly safe and at this point there is nothing to be worried about,” Casher told reporters outside the family’s home in Thousand Oaks.

Sunderland was attempting to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. She sailed into a storm early Thursday in the southern Indian Ocean and lost contact with her family. She apparently activated  emergency beacon locating devices Thursday morning after contact with her satellite phone was lost.

She had been battling winds up to 60 knots and 20- to 25-foot seas. And though she had been knocked down several times, she was "handling things well," her parents said on her blog earlier Thursday.

--Catherine Saillant in Thousand Oaks and Robert J. Lopez