Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy’s condition stable after mid-ocean rescue, says mentor

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Commander Abhilash Tomy of Indian Navy Tuesday reached the southern Indian Ocean island Ile Amsterdam, a day after being rescued by a French vessel and his condition is stable, his mentor and race manager said. French patrol vessel Osiris got Cdr Tomy and fellow sailor Gregor McGuckin to the island after a rescue on the high seas Monday following damage to their non-motorised sailing yachts in a storm Friday. Cdr Tomy is stable and in safe hands. The doctors have given him sedatives but the good news is that there is no spinal injury, Cdr (Retd) Dilip Donde told PTI over phone from Goa. Further course of action will depend on the medical advice, he said, adding the tiny island has sound medical facilities. The island does not have an air strip and Cdr Tomy will have to be taken by the sea route itself, Cdr Donde said, adding he can be taken to either Mauritius, the Reunion Island or Australia. He said an Australian naval ship is reaching the island, while the progress of the Indian Naval stealth frigate INS Satpura, which was also reported to be heading to rescue Cdr Tomy, is not known. Cdr Tomy was drifting for nearly three days in his 32-feet long yacht, Thuriya, which was damaged in a storm. Vessels and naval assets in the vicinity were deployed for his rescue. Thuriya had tossed in the face of high tides before stabilising, he said, adding Cdr Tomy texted through satellite-based device requesting for evacuation stating his back has been injured and he is unable to move. Cdr Tomy was participating in the Golden Globe Race, where 11 participants are using 1968 vintage boats and technology to circumnavigate solo and non-stop. The race is being held to celebrate the golden anniversary of first such solo circumnavigation in 1968. Videos and pictures of Cdr Tomys evacuation by the crew of Osiris were released by the Indian Navy and the Australian authorities, whose reconnaissance aircraft were in the skies whilst the rescue happened. The pictures show Cdr Tomy being pulled out on a stretcher from the cabin of Thuriya and then carefully lowered into a small raft which had come to fetch him from the Osiris located nearby. Osiris also evacuated McGuckin from his boat and got both the sailors to the Ile Amsterdam island. Cdr Tomy and McGuckin were placed third and second, respectively, in the race, when they braved the storm.