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Abby Sunderland vessel photo and flyover update

June 11, 2010 |  1:25 pm
The latest update posted on Abby Sunderland's blog is from the search-and-rescue crew, which spotted the young sailor's boat Wild Eyes in the Indian Ocean and briefly spoke with her.

They state that Sunderland, 16, remained "in good spirits" after being spotted from the air.

A crew of 11 trained observers that were on the Qantas Airways "spotter" airbus returned to Perth after successfully locating the troubled vessel in the Indian Ocean.

Taskforce leader Will Blackshaw said there was a very brief period of contact with the Thousand Oaks teenager, but said she remained positive despite the setback.

"Abby is in very good spirits. She's obviously keen to have some assistance, but she is in very good spirits," said Blackshaw.

When the crew did make that radio contact with Sunderland, her first words to them were, "This is Abby."

"The window of opportunity to speak to her was very short, so we had very brief, direct conversations about her health, the condition of the vessel, and her communications," he continued. "The seas are very rough indeed, and there is a lot of wind, and she is obviously going to have a very uncomfortable night of sleep."

"It was a very happy moment for all of the people on board the plane," added Blackshaw. "However, it was a very serious moment as well, and we were all concentrating on the job at task which was to make contact with Abby."

Blackshaw said they instructed Sunderland to activate two further EPIRB devices, to ensure a continuous signal for rescue crews to spot her.

Mike Wear, who was also aboard the aircraft, said Abby sounded "very upbeat and very strong" during the brief contact.

"It was just a very small dot on the ocean. She was on the back deck [and] she was very hard to see," said Wear.

Qantas refused to comment on how much the trip had cost the company or whether they would seek reimbursement for the flight.

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Abby Sunderland's 40-foot sailboat, Wild Eyes, in the Southern Indian Ocean. Credit: Australia Search & Rescue


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