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Golden Globe Race seek to rescue injured Indian sailor

Abhilash Tomy set sail from Les Sables d'Olonne in western France on July 1
Abhilash Tomy set sail from Les Sables d'Olonne in western France on July 1 Abhilash Tomy set sail from Les Sables d'Olonne in western France on July 1 AFP
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Paris (AFP)

The organisers of the round-the-world Golden Globe Race said Saturday they were scrambling to rescue missing Indian sailor Abhilash Tomy, but admitted he was "as far from help as you can possibly be".

Tomy's yacht Thuriya had its mast broken off when it was rolled in a storm on Friday and the yachtsman suffered what he called "a severe back injury".

The organisers described him as "incapacitated on his bunk inside his boat" and his yacht is 2,000 miles (3,704 kilometres) off the coast of Perth, Western Australia.

On Saturday, he managed to send a message saying: "Extremely difficult to walk, Might need stretcher, can't walk, thanks safe inside the boat... Sat phone down."

The organisers said on the race website: "The Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre is working hard to assess and coordinate all possible options to rescue Abhilas Tomy who is as far from help as you can possibly be."

Tomy, a 39-year-old commander in the Indian navy, is able to communicate using a YB3 texting unit but his primary satellite phone is damaged.

He has a second satellite phone and a handheld VHF radio packed in an emergency bag, but organisers said he was unable to reach it for the moment.

The organisers said they had urged him to try to get to the bag because it could be crucial in making contact with a plane from Australia and an Indian air force plane which might be able to fly over the area.

Given the distance from land, the planes will not be able to spend long in the area, the organisers added.

A French fishing boat was also heading to the scene "but may not arrive for a few days".

The Golden Globe Race involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe in yachts similar to those used in the first race 50 years ago, with no modern technology allowed except the communication equipment.

Tomy's own yacht is a replica of Robin Knox-Johnston's Suhail, winner of the first Golden Globe Race.

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