India’s Abhilash Tomy, a solo yachtsmen rescued in an international effort after his boat were seriously damaged by “mountainous seas” in the remote Indian Ocean, is set to return home, the Australian navy said Monday.
Tomy and Irishman Gregor McGuckin, competitors in round-the-world Golden Globe race, were stranded some 1,900 nautical miles south-west of Perth after their vessels were damaged in a storm more than a week ago.
They were plucked from the rough seas by French fisheries patrol vessel FPV Osiris last Monday and taken to the nearby Indian Ocean island Ile Amsterdam.
Tomy – a 39-year-old Indian navy commander who suffered a bad back injury during the storm – was being “picked up by Indian Navy frigate INS Satpura for return to India”, the Australian Defence Force said.
There was no further update on his condition.
McGuckin, 32, was not injured but had been forced to abandon his wrecked yacht during the race. He was taken to Perth by Australian frigate HMAS Ballarat where he was met by family and friends, the military added.
“We are very pleased that both yachtsmen are now safe,” Australia’s navy chief Vice Admiral Mike Noonan said in a statement.
Tomy had earlier thanked the Indian Navy and collaborators from other countries for saving him.
“The sea was unbelievably rough. Me and my boat, Thuriya, were pitched against nature’s might. I survived because of my sailing skills. The soldier bit in me and my naval training cut in for that fight. Very thankful to the Indian Navy & all who rescued me,” he was quoted as saying by the Indian Navy’s official twitter handle.
The Golden Globe Race involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe in yachts similar to those used in the first race 50 years ago, with no modern technology allowed except the communications equipment. Tomy, who was the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in 2013, was the only Indian participating in the race
Tomy’s own yacht was a replica of Robin Knox-Johnston’s Suhaili, winner of the first Golden Globe Race.
(With AFP inputs)