Solo sailors competing in the 2018 Golden Globe Race have been hit by a devastating storm midway through the South Indian Ocean, leaving a Indian Navy sailor from Kerala named Abhilash Tomy injured, a Defence spokesman said on Friday night, quoting a news report issued by the organisers of the event.
According to the report issued from the Les Sables dâ€™Olonne, in France, the 70-knot winds and 14 metre high seas have left the yachts of Indian Navy's Abhilash Tomy and Gregor McGuckin from Ireland dismasted, and have twice knocked down the yacht of second-placed Dutch competitor Mark Slats.
Race organisers say Abhilash sent a text message overnight, saying: â€śROLLED. DISMASTED. SEVERE BACK INJURY. CANNOT GET UP.â€ť
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy has diverted its stealth frigate for the rescue mission.
Both McGuckin and Slats have since issued a report that they are okay, but Abhilash, who is a 39-year-old commander in the Indian Navy, while making his second solo circumnavigation, has been injured during the storm. Meanwhile, Abhilash's Twitter handle tweeted:
Thank you for your support and concern in these trying times. Abhilash has sustained some serious back injuries, however he says he's safe inside the boat. Indian Navy is doing their best as they always have. His tracker is working. He has activated the EPIRB. Help is on its way.â€” Abhilash Tommy (@abhilashtomy) September 22, 2018
Abhilash Tomy, who became the first Indian ever to have circumnavigated the globe back in 2013, is also the only Indian participating in the Golden Globe Race that involves an incredibly gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe. He has been awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award, the Kirti Chakra for valour and courageous action.
Abhilash has covered around 52,000 miles under sail while in the Indian Navy which includes a solo non-stop circumnavigation from Mumbai and back in 2012/13. He has also represented India in the 2011 Cape Town to Rio Race, the Spanish Copa del Rey Race in 2014 and the Korea Cup for two years in succession.
The report stated that the Maritime Rescue Authorities were alerted. It went on to say that other entrants have been asked to make towards Abhilash's position if possible, and added that the weather and sea were extreme.
The nearest yacht happened to be Gregor McGuckin's Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance, some 90 miles to the southwest of Abhilash's Thuriya but was dismasted in the same storm as well.
Gregor reported earlier that his yacht was a mess below, but also confirmed that provided his diesel supplies have not been contaminated, he has sufficient fuel to move towards Abhilash's position if conditions allow.
The report also said that both Abhilash and Gregor are about 1,900 miles west of Cape Leeuwin in west Australia. The event began in July this year from France.