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Rescued teen sailor arrives at California home

The teenage girl forced to abandon her dream of sailing solo around the world returned to her Southern California home last night.

world Updated: Jun 29, 2010 13:12 IST

The teenage girl forced to abandon her dream of sailing solo around the world returned to her Southern California home on Monday night.

Video footage on KTLA-TV showed Abby Sunderland arriving at her home in Thousands Oaks.
The 16-year-old got out of a black car and was escorted into the house by an unidentified male without speaking to reporters. Balloons adorned the entryway.

Zac Sunderland, Abby's brother, answered the phone late on Monday at the Sunderland home and said the family was about to cut a cake in celebration of her homecoming. He said no one would comment until a scheduled Tuesday morning news conference.

Abby Sunderland began her journey Jan. 23 from Los Angeles County's Marina del Rey, hoping to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe solo and nonstop.

She ran into equipment problems soon after starting her trip and had to stop for repairs.

She gave up the goal of setting the record in April, but hoped to complete the solo journey. Zac Sunderland held the record briefly last year until Briton Mike Perham completed his own journey. The record changed hands last month when 16-year-old Australian Jessica Watson completed her own around-the-world voyage.

Abby Sunderland's attempt to sail solo around the world ended June 10 when her mast snapped in a storm in the Indian Ocean, sparking an extensive international rescue mission. She was rescued by a French fishing boat more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) west of Australia. It took two weeks at sea for her to reach the French island of Reunion, off the southeastern coast of Africa.

Sunderland flew to France on Sunday, where she boarded a flight to California. She plans to talk about her adventure at the Tuesday news conference.

Sunderland has dismissed concerns about her young age, saying she was well-prepared for the trip, and has said all the criticism of her parents was "ungrounded."