Commander Abhilash Tomy’s back fixed, humour intact after surgery
Champion sailor Commander Abhilash Tomy underwent a surgery at an army hospital here on Thursday for a back injury he suffered while negotiating a deadly storm in the southern Indian Ocean that left his yacht crippled three weeks ago.
Air Commodore MS Sridhar, the military’s senior-most neurosurgeon, fixed Tomy’s back in a two-hour procedure, the navy said in a tweet. The 39-year-old is recovering well from the surgery, with his sense of humour intact.
“This naval legend @abhilashtomy now has a back of steel. The Docs r totally floored by the resolve and determination of Abhilash. Also compliment his sense of humour. Wish you a super speedy recovery sailor boy,” navy spokesperson Captain DK Sharma tweeted. Sharma met him at the hospital.
“Platinum sir. My value has just gone up,” Tomy responded on Twitter.
Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba met Tomy after the surgery and wished him speedy recovery.
Indian warship INS Satpura reached Vizag with Tomy onboard on October 5. It picked him up from from Île Amsterdam, a remote island in the southern Indian Ocean where he was undergoing treatment. Before being moved to Delhi for the surgery, Tomy was being treated at naval hospital INHS Kalyani.
He was participating in this year’s Golden Globe Race (GGR), a circumnavigation challenge involving solo participants, and which bars the use of modern technology.
He suffered a debilitating back injury on September 21 after the rough seas and powerful winds pummeled his yacht Thuriya, sending it into a 360-degree spin. He was rescued three days later by French patrol vessel Osiris in a dramatic mission.
In his first and only interview after being rescued from the remotest place on Earth, carried in HT on September 28, Tomy reconstructed some of the most terrifying moments of his 70-hour ordeal.
“The deep sea was scary as hell. It was so, so bad. That sight, it was something I had never seen before in my life,” Tomy said in that interview over satellite phone from Île Amsterdam.
He became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe onboard his boat Mhadei - solo, non-stop and unassisted in 2013. He was awarded India’s second-highest peace-time gallantry award, Kirti Chakra, for the feat. Before the accident, Tomy was in the third position among 11 international participants and had sailed over 10,500 nautical miles since the race began on July 1.
Tomy has sailed more than 52,000 miles in his naval career spanning 18 years. And he hopes to sail again soon.