In final stretch, hostile weather slows down Navy commander’s rescue
Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy, who currently lies injured in his sailing vessel in the south of Indian Ocean, will soon be rescued by Australian and French ships which are now close to his location, a top Navy official said Monday. The French vessel Osiris, which is on its way to rescue him, is also facing hostile weather -- strong winds and high waves.
“An Australian naval ship and a French fishing ship are closest to Tomy’s location. Some civilian and naval aircraft have also been mobilised. He is expected to be rescued soon,” Vice Admiral Girish Luthra, Western Naval Command Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, told reporters in Mumbai.
The 39-year-old Kirti Chakra awardee’s is immobile after a back injury and is in the cabin of his boat. His rescue communication devices are running out of charge and he is barely responding to text messages, reported NDTV.
Commander Tomy’s vessel was “rolling excessively” in the South Indian Ocean, a Defence spokesman had said Sunday.
“He is in touch through text messages with the (race) organisers. We will come to know about his exact health condition after we meet him,” Vice Adm Luthra said.
The Indian Navy’s P8I aircraft, which flew from Mauritius in the early hours Sunday, had located the “mast broken boat rolling excessively”, the Defence spokesman had said earlier.
Commander Tomy, who was participating in the Golden Globe sailing competition, suffered a back injury last Friday after his yacht was hit by a vicious storm with 14-metre-high waves mid-way across south Indian Ocean.
The commander’s vessel was dismasted in extremely rough weather and sea conditions, with wind speeds of 130 kmph. He was in third position in the race and has sailed over 10,500 nautical miles in the last 84 days, since the race started on July 1.
(With PTI inputs)