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Australia joins bid to rescue injured Indian sailor in remote ocean

Tomy pictured on his boat Thuriya as he set sail from France on July 1, 2018, at the start of the race
Tomy pictured on his boat Thuriya as he set sail from France on July 1, 2018, at the start of the race Tomy pictured on his boat Thuriya as he set sail from France on July 1, 2018, at the start of the race AFP/File
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Sydney (AFP)

Australia Sunday joined an international mission to rescue an injured Indian sailor stranded in the Indian Ocean while competing in the round-the-world Golden Globe Race.

The mast of Abhilash Tomy's yacht Thuriya broke off when it was rolled in a storm on Friday and the yachtsman suffered what he described as a "severe back injury".

The 39-year-old Indian navy commander was "incapacitated on his bunk inside his boat" some 2,000 miles (3,704 kilometres) off Western Australia state, organisers said.

Two P8 Poseidons -- one from the Royal Australian Air Force and another from the Indian armed forces -- flew over the yacht to inspect it Sunday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

AMSA, which is coordinating the search, said the crews saw that the yacht was dismasted but did not get further information about Tomy's condition.

"He is injured inside the yacht, so he can't communicate further," an AMSA spokesman told AFP.

Tomy was communicating with organisers via a YB3 texting unit but his main satellite phone was damaged, and his injury meant he was unable to reach a second satellite phone and handheld VHF radio.

The yacht's location is so remote that a French fisheries patrol vessel in the area which has been tasked by AMSA to join the rescue was only likely to reach Tomy on Monday or Tuesday.

The Australian Defence Force said Sunday it would also assist in the rescue, with the frigate HMAS Ballarat sailing from Perth late Saturday towards the yacht.

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 communications 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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