NEW DELHI: Indian Navy's Commander Abhilash Tomy, who was stranded in the South Indian Ocean and badly injured during the Golden Globe Race, had been located and efforts were on to rescue him, the government said.
According to a defence spokesperson, an Indian Navy aircraft located Tomy's vessel rolling excessively in the South Indian Ocean. All efforts were being made to rescue Commander Tomy, who had suffered a back injury on Friday after his yacht was hit by a vicious storm with 14-metre-high waves mid-way across south Indian Ocean.
"INS Satpura and INS Jyoti are heading at top speed to reach Tomy", the spokesman said, adding the Navy headquarters in New Delhi and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, Melbourne, Australia were monitoring the situation. Australian Navy frigate HMAS Ballarat was also on the way, he said.
The Indian Navy's P8I aircraft, which flew from Mauritius in the early hours Sunday, had located the -"mast broken boat rolling excessively", he said. "Commander Tomy responded by ping on EPIRB as the aircraft was flying over him,-" the spokesman said in Kochi.
Quoting Captain Chandrahas Vivek, pilot of the aircraft which flew from Mauritius this morning, the spokesman said the aircraft established visual contact with the yacht and later landed back at Port Louis Mauritius. Tomy's vessel is in the south Indian Ocean, about 1,900 nautical miles from Perth in Australia. The position was relayed to JRCC Australia and the war room in New Delhi through INMARSAT, he said.
Commander Tomy had on Sunday managed to get in touch with race organisers in France through messages and had requested for a stretcher as he could not move on his own. He was representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR) on an indigenously-built sailing vessel 'S V Thuraya'.Tomy, who became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe in 2013, is the only Indian participating in the race that involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe.
A report from France on Friday night had said 70 knot winds and 14-metre-high waves have left the yachts of Tomy and Ireland's Gregor McGuckin dismasted, and twice knocked down the yacht of second-placed Dutchman Mark Slats.
Both McGuckin and Slats had reported that they are okay, but 39-year-old Tomy, making his second solo circumnavigation, has been injured, it had said.
It had also said other entrants were asked to make towards Tomy's position if possible, and added that the weather was extreme.
The nearest yacht was McGuckin's 'Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance', some 90 miles to the southwest of Tomy's 'Thuriya', but she too was dismasted in the same storm.
(with inputs from PTI)