Injured Commander Abhilash Tomy rescued in joint naval operation

A yachtsman from India was trapped in the high seas in his damaged boat along with a serious back injury, several thousand miles off the coast of Australia. After hours of waiting, Abhilash Tomy, a competitor in the Golden Globe race, was rescued by a joint operation conducted by the Australian Navy, a French fishing vessel and the Indian Navy.

Tomy was located adrift on his dismasted yacht by an Indian Navy reconnaissance aircraft. On September 24, he was rescued by a French fishing vessel called Osiris. The Australian Navy ship HMAS Ballarat left Perth to pick him. India’s own INS Satpura will be arriving at Tomy’s location by September 28.

With rough weather conditions and wind speeds over 130kmph and waves rising over 10 meters high, Tomy, who is also a serving officer at the Indian Navy, was stranded about 1,900 nautical miles off Perth. After his injury, Tomy had sent distress signals which read, “ACTIVATED EPIRB. CANT WALK. MIGHT NEED STRETCHER”, as per a statement by the race organisers. The next message read, “CAN MOVE TOES. FEEL NUMB. CAN’T EAT OR DRINK. TOUGH 2 REACH GRAB BAG”.

Tomy was in touch with another participant called Gregor McGuckin from Ireland, whose yacht too was dismasted. Though Gregor was not in distress, he asked for evacuation as he realised that all rescue vessels were now nearby.