This Indian Naval Commander's Rescue Story Is A Testament To The Strength Of The Human Spirit

Karishma Govil , 25 Sep 2018
Yacht With Broken Mast (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)
Yacht With Broken Mast (Image Courtesy: Shutterstock)

The 50th Golden Globe Race 2018 commenced on July 1st that started from Les Sables-d’Olonne, France for which the participants sail solo non-stop across the globe through the five Great Capes and then return to Les Sables-d’Olonne. The sail is to honour Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s historic 1968-69 first solo non-stop circumnavigation. The participants are limited with equipment and yachts that Sir Robin had during that sail.

Gregor McGuckin & Mark Slats‘ Knockdowns

You can only imagine how this limiting equipment and the long journey can challenge even the strongest sailors. And that’s exactly what happened during this year’s race. Dutch sailor Mark Slats who was in second place suffered two knockdowns (when the yacht laid over far enough to put the mast beneath the water) in his Rustler 36 The Ohpen Maverick and Gregor McGuckin suffered one too and also suffered a rolling that dismasted his entire yacht that effectively ended his participation in the race.

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Commander Abhilash Tomy (39) of Indian Navy who is currently competing in the 2018 Golden Globe Race which involves a grueling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe. Abhilash is one of India's prominent sailors and a recipient of the Kirti Chakra. His yacht was caught in extremely rough weather. He sent a distress signal on Friday evening conveying that the mast of his yacht had broken. He said that he had suffered a severe back injury and couldn't get up. He is approximately 1,900 nautical miles away from Perth in Australia. Indian Navy stealth frigate INS Satpura, mission deployed in Southern Indian Ocean diverted for the rescue mission. Twitter handle abhilashtomy tweeted that though Abhilash sustained serious injuries, he was safe inside the boat and that his tracker was working. #defencelover #indiannavy⚓ #indiannavy #navy #kirtichakra #abhilashtomy #inssatpura #sailor #goldengloberace

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The Unfortunate Incident With Commander Abhilash Tomy

Even though the above incidents were extremely harsh, what happened to Commander Abhilash Tomy was worse. Commander Tomy is a well-respected sailor who is the first Indian, second Asian, and seventy-ninth person to complete a solo, unassisted, non-stop circumnavigation under sail. His yacht, the Thuriya suffered a rolling that left his yacht dismasted and injured his back severely. Because of which he had to send a message to the race headquarters that stated “ROLLED. DISMASTED. SEVERE BACK INJURY. CANNOT GET UP.”

The Rescue Mission

Tomy was located approximately 1,900 miles southwest of Perth, Western Australia when he sent his message to the race headquarters. Troops from the HQ immediately scrambled to help him and eventually, the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Canberra was successful in directing a French fisheries patrol vessel called Osiris that reached Tomy yesterday.

We’re really relieved that Tomy and McGukin are now safe and recovering fast, and we applaud the GGR HQ and the Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre for their success in this rescue mission.

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