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The French fisheries patrol ship reaches Tomy’s yacht
Rescue now underway

Media update 07:00 UTC 23.9.2018 Les Sables d’Olonne, France
Day 4 of the rescue of injured Indian Golden Globe Race solo sailor Abhilash Tomy from his dismasted yacht Thuriya approximately 1,900 miles SW of Perth Western Australia

The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris reached Tomy’s yacht at 05:30 UTC today and Australian and Indian long range P8 Orion reconnaissance aircraft are circling overhead. Thuriya’s position is 39 32.79S and 78 3.29E

Weather conditions are favourable: 15-20knots from the South West, 2m swells and good visibility. A radio briefing was held between the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre on Reunion Island, a doctor located on Amsterdam Island, and the master of the Osiris before the French crew boarded Thuriya from Zodiac inflatable boats to administer immediate first-aid and assess his condition.

Abhilash Tomy, 39, is a Commander in the Indian Navy and has been confined to his bunk, unable to move since his yacht was rolled through 360° and dismasted in a vicious Southern Ocean storm last Friday.

Fellow GGR skipper Gregor Mcguckin whose yacht Hanley Energy Endurance was also dismasted in the same storm last week, is making 2.2 knots towards Thuriya’s position, sailing under jury rig. The 32-year old Irishman is still 25 miles to the West and in radio contact with the reconnaissance aircraft. He is not in distress but has asked for a controlled evacuation from his yacht.

Faced with a 1,900 mile sail across the Southern Ocean to Western Australia under a small jury rig and without an engine (his fuel was contaminated when the yacht capsized), this is a responsible decision taken by a professional sailor when all the rescue assets are close by. The alternative would have been to continue sailing singlehanded without the aid of self-steering (also smashed in the capsize) and risk having to call on the Rescue Services again should he be disabled further in another storm.

Once the two solo yachtsmen are safely aboard the Osiris the French fisheries patrol ship will proceed to Amsterdam Island where the rescued sailors will be given a full medical examination. The hospital on Amsterdam Island is well equipped with X-ray and ultrasound equipment.

Race organisers continue to work closely with The Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre and are extremely grateful for the efforts being made by all involved.

For Media interviews with Don McIntyre, GGR Race Chairman, call +33 (0) 251040434

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Day 84 – Code Red alert update

Day 84 – Code Red alert update

13:00 UTC Les Sables d’Olonne, France

A multinational search operation is now under way to rescue injured Indian solo sailor Abhilash Tomy from his dismasted yacht in the Southern Ocean some 1,900 miles SW of Perth at the extreme limit of immediate rescue range.

The 39 year old yachtsman was lying in 3rd place in the Golden Globe Race when he and fellow competitor, Irishman Gregor McGuckin were overtaken by a 70knot storm and 15 metre seas on Friday. Tomy’s ketch rigged yacht Thuriya, was rolled through 360° and dismasted and the skipper suffered a back injury that has left him immobile.

Tomy’s latest communication sent at 08:26 UTC today: LUGGED CANS OF ICE TEA. HAVING THAT.VOMITTING CONTINUINGLY. CHEST BURNING Position: 39′ 33.512 S 077′ 41.608 E

McGuckin’s yacht Hanley Energy Endurance, was also dismasted 90 miles to the SW of Thuriya, is the nearest vessel. The Irishman, who suffered only minor injuries, has since set up a jury rig and is making 3 knots towards Tomy’s position aided by continuous navigation updates from Race HQ in Les Sables d’Olonne. He is expected to reach the Indian’s position at first light on Monday. Weather permitting, he may be asked by the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) in Canberra to abandon his own yacht and board Thuriya to provide immediate assistance to the injured yachtsman. Telemedicine doctors MSOS in the UK would then be able to speak directly to Abhilash via Gregor’s satellite phone and suggest appropriate first aid as well as advise JRCC of his condition to help forward planning.

The French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris, which carries medical support, is making her way from a position 123NM SSW, but experiencing adverse seas and making only 4.1knots. She is not now expected to reach the area before 1000UTC on Monday

Overnight Saturday, an Indian P8 Orion military plane out of Mauritius overflew Thuriya to assess the yacht’s condition. Photographs taken by the crew show the yacht dismasted with her rig still attached to the hull acting as a sea anchor, and slowing her drift westwards.

Abhilash Tomy, who has reported severe back injuries, is unable to move from his bunk, but heard the plane fly overhead and acknowledged this by turning his emergency beacon off and on.

Two further planes, one outbound from Perth, and an Australian Defence Force P8 Orion operating from Reunion Island also overflew the two yachts a few hours later and managed to communicate directly with McGuckin. JRCC in Canberra, which is organising this multinational rescue with Indian and French authorities, can now position aircraft overhead during any rescue operations on the water.

The Australian authorities have also despatched the Anzac class frigate HMAS Ballerat from Fremantle overnight. She is due to take 4-5 days to reach the area. The Indian Navy has also diverted the frigate INS Satpura, and tanker INS Jyoti Mission from exercises off South Africa to assist in the rescue.

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GGR Day 83 Code Red Alert update


Australian rescue authorities lead multinational mission to rescue injured Indian GGR solo sailor from dismasted yacht deep in the South Indian Ocean
Media update 13:00 UTC 22.9.2018 Les Sables d’Olonne, France

Early today, Golden Globe Race HQ finally received a satellite text message from Abhilash Tomy, the injured Indian solo sailor dismasted in the South Indian Ocean some 1,900 miles SW of Perth, Australia on Friday. ACTIVATED EPIRB.CANT WALK.MIGHT NEED STRETCHER Position: 39′ 25.297 S 077′ 30.629 E at 22 Sep 02:28 UTC

From subsequent messages, rescue authorities in Australia and India now know that the 39 year old Naval Commander is safe onboard his disabled yacht Thuriya, but lying immobilised in his bunk. His latest message timed at 21:57 UTC READ: CAN MOVE TOES. FEEL NUMB. CAN’T EAT OR DRINK. TOUGH 2 REACH GRAB BAG

The MRCC in Canberra has subsequently picked up the yacht’s emergency signals and is now co-ordinating a multinational rescue mission.

An executive jet has been despatched from Perth, Western Australia to assess the situation and is expected to reach the area at around 02:30 UTC Sunday. The plane has sufficient fuel to remain on station for 3 hours, when her crew will assess the damage to the 36ft Indian yacht and attempt to make radio contact with Tomy. The aircraft will also overfly Gregor McGuckin’s Irish yacht Hanley Energy Endurance also dismasted during the same storm. McGuckin has since set up a jury rig and is attempting to motor sail the 90-mile distance to Tomy’s position.

The Australian authorities are also repositioning a search and rescue plane to Reunion Island to assist in the rescue mission together with the Anzac class frigate HMAS Ballerat which is preparing to leave Perth. She will take 4-5 days to reach the area but has a helicopter and full medical facilities onboard.

Much closer is the French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris, which expects to reach Thuriya some time Sunday PM UTC. She also has medical facilities onboard.

Independently, Indian authorities have despatched a military plane from Mauritius which could reach the area around 23:30 UTC today and also diverted the Indian Navy’s stealth frigate INS Satpura, and tanker INS Jyoti Mission from exercises off South Africa to assist in the rescue.

At 10:00 UTC today, Gregor McGuckin made a satellite phone call to Race HQ. The Irish yachtsman reported that he had utilised his spinnaker pole to rig a simple jury rig but found that the alloy tube was bending in heavy gusts. He is also having trouble with the engine, which keeps stopping. This may be caused by fuel contamination when the yacht was rolled and dismasted on Friday. He is also having to hand steer after his wind vane self-steering was smashed by the falling mast. Regardless, Gregor is making best time to Tomy under the circumstances and estimates that he could reach Thuriya’s position between 18:00 and 24:00 UTC on Sunday. Race organisers are providing him with regular range and bearing details.

Estonian GGR skipper Uku Randmaa, currently 400 miles west of the two distressed yachts will take 3 days to reach the area, and plans to assist Gregor.

Dutchman Mark Slats who is some 250 miles SW of the rescue area, has been excused from turning back to assist. He is still facing 40-knot winds and 15m seas and was washed overboard during one of several knockdowns early today, but saved by his safety tether. He reports that he has never seen conditions as bad. One wave crashed down on his boat Ophen Maverick, smashed through the companionway washboards and flooded the yacht’s electrics causing a small fire, which was quickly extinguished.

The rest of the GGR fleet have done well to make north to avoid a second viscous storm now approaching from the west, which should now pass south of them. There will still be big swells and strong winds, but nothing like the middle fleet experienced over the past 24 hours

Race organisers continue to work closely with The Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre and are extremely grateful for the efforts being made by all involved.

The post GGR Day 83 Code Red Alert update appeared first on Golden Globe Race.

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GGR UPDATE 05:30UTC. 22/9/18

The Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre is working hard to asses and co-ordainate all possible options to Rescue Abhilas Tomy who is as far from help as you can possibly be.

Late last night we were excited to recieve the following messages from Tomy. Till then we had heard nothing but the first message and we were all very worried.

UNABLE 2 LEAVEBUNK.WILLTRY2CHECKPHONEANDMASTBYDAY Position: 39′ 26.323 S 077′ 29.848 E at 21 Sep 22:44 UTC

BACK IS EXTREMELY STIFF.DIFFICULT TO. EPIRB AND EXACT SITUATION Position: 39′ 26.298 S 077′ 29.862 E at 21 Sep 22:47 UTC

GGR received the following messages from TOMY at first light this morning:

“Activated EPIRB. Extremely difficult to walk, Might need stretcher, can’t walk, thanks safe inside the boat, Unable to reach 2nd YB3 or anything. Sat phone down.”

Tomy is incapacitated on his bunk inside the boat after being rolled and dismasted yesterday. He is using the portable Yellow Brick YB3 texting unit for messaging. Batteries on this unit may last days. His external YB3i tracking unit is still providing position data to the online GGR tracker but the power link to ships batteries is damaged so may go flat sometime. The hand held YB3 is a back up tracker also.

The primary sat phone is damaged. There is a second satphone and second YB3 texting unit in his Emergency GRAB BAG, but he cannot reach those units. He also has an AVIATION hand Held VHF radio in that bag. We have asked him to try to get that as there MAY BE? an aircraft flying down from Australia and later another Indian Air Force plane for a visual Over flight inspection. If these flights went ahead two way communication will be important. He is 2000 miles from Australia, so time for the aircraft on scene will be very short.

A French fisheries Vessel may be headed to the scene, but may not arrive for a few days. An Australian Navy vessel may be considered for assistance, but that may be 5 days or more away. Notice has been sent to any/all ships in the area to check if they can assist the Distress situation.

GGR Entrant UKU RANDMAA is 400 miles west and is heading to the area and will also meet with GREGOR who was also dismasted. He will take about three days to reach the site. On the sat phone today Gregor confirmed he is making repairs to his boat and hopes to be able to make way under power toward Tomy. His windvane was damaged when the mast fell down, so he must hand steer now. The Rudder is making strange noises but it seems OK. He is 100 miles to the South West of Tomy and it will take at least one day travelling IF the weather allows. He is not at this time sure when he may get underway.AT 0530 UTC we recieved the following message from GREGOR  ..JURY RIG SET.AIMING TO GET FURTHER NORTH

Mark Slats called the GGR office to confirm he is still in 15mtr seas and 40kts but it feels as if he is in a calm compared to what he went through. Conditions are now moderating. He was washed overboard at one point and flooded inside the boat when one wave smashed through his companionway door. He was Knocked down numerous times and has never seen conditions like it before. His HF radio is damaged and other electrical gear too. He is bruised and OK, but frustrated now that his position and the forecast winds do not make it possible for him to head toward Tomy, 230 miles to the west. GGR have advised him NOT to try, as it is too risky for him in strong headwinds.

GGR continue to work closely with The Australian Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center and is extremely grateful for the efforts being made by all involved.

It appears that the rest of the GGR fleet have done well to make NORTH over the past few days and the worst of the BIG storm approaching them may pass south below them. There will still be big swells and strong winds, but nothing like the middle fleet experienced over the past 24 hours.

The post GGR UPDATE AFTER STORM appeared first on Golden Globe Race.

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Media update at 21:00 UTC

DAY 82 UPDATE: CODE RED ALERT for Indian skipper Abhilash Tomy
MRCC Canberra lead rescue

Media update at 21:00 UTC

There has been no further communication with Abhilash Tomy, the 39-year old Indian Golden Globe Race skipper since his dramatic text message at 12:09 UTC today: ROLLED. DISMASTED. SEVERE BACK INJURY. CANNOT GET UP.

Race organisers are working closely with the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Center in Canberra, which has issued an all ships alert and is now co-ordinating rescue efforts led by Australian Defence Forces.

The Australians are also working with French Maritime Rescue Centre based on Reunion Island in the South Indian Ocean which is attempting to source a vessel that might assist, including a French Fisheries Protection ship thought to be in the area.

Commander Tomy is a serving Naval Flying Officer in the Indian Navy which has also been alerted and is standing by to assist in the rescue.

Don McIntyre, the Race Chairman based in Les Sables d’Olonne where the Golden Globe solo non-stop round the world Race began on July 1st, commented tonight: “We are very grateful to all these international organisations for mobilising their resources so quickly and for the lead role taken by MRCC in Canberra. 

The position of Tomy’s yacht Thuriya, a replica of Sir Robin Knox-Johnston’s yacht Suhail, winner of the first GGR 50 years ago, is some 1,900 miles south West of Perth, Western Australia at the extreme limit of immediate rescue range.

The fact that Abhilash has been unable to make contact via text or sat phone, nor set off his emergency beacon is unusual and suggests that he remains incapacitated. The only link is the tracking signal we are receiving from the yacht, but the batteries have a limited life.”

Other Golden Globe Race competitors have been alerted to the situation and offered to assist once this storm recedes. Gregor McGuckin, the subject of a CODE ORANGE alert himself following his yacht’s dismasting earlier today, is 100 miles SW of Tomy’s position, and has good communications onboard. He is reporting moderating conditions, and that all is ok and secure onboard his yacht Hanley Energy Endurance. The Irishman has also confirmed that the yacht’s engine remains operational following his 360° roll, and after he has made repairs, will inform Race HQ if and when he can head towards, Thuriya’s position.

Estonian skipper Uku Randmaa is another within range, some 450 miles to the west of Thuriya and is sailing at best speed towards her.

Dutchman Mark Slats currently 2nd overall sailing the Rustler 36 Ophen Maverick is still facing extreme conditions 230 miles to the South East of the Indian yacht, and having been knocked down several times during the day, is not in a safe position to turn back at this time.

The MRCC in Canberra will issue an update once they receive official confirmation of the air/sea rescue assets available.

Barry Pickthall
2018 Golden Globe Race Media Co-ordinator
PO Box 78, Hindhead, Surrey, GU27 9GA, England Tel: +44 (0)7768 395719

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