Rescued teen sailor arrives home


Rescued teen sailor Abby Sunderland says she's happy to be home in Southern California, yet sad that she had to cut short her attempt to sail around the world alone.

The 16-year-old spoke to reporters during a press conference in Marine Del Rey Tuesday morning, just hours after she returned on a flight from France. Her 18-year-old brother Zac, also a sailor, sat next to her.

Abby said she has no plans to quit sailing.

"I'm definitely not going to stop for a minute."

Abby spoke about her five-month voyage and the challenges that presented themselves, saying, "you can reduce risk but you can never completely eliminate it."

"There has definitely been times when I was terrified. I knew when I headed out for this trip that I was going to be testing myself," she said.

Abby said she trained for years and had a crew of experts helping her long before she even purchased a boat.

The teen was about halfway through her journey earlier this month when a large wave in the Indian Ocean snapped her mast and knocked out communication equipment.

She set off her emergency beacons, sparking a massive search and rescue effort.

Abby discussed what happened in the moments after the accident, saying she got a little banged up, but was otherwise o.k.

She told reporters that when her boat rolled, she hit her head and "things went black for a second, but just for a second."

She said everything happened really fast, and luckily she was "down below" on the boat because she had just fixed her engine.

After three days adrift, Abby was rescued by a fishing boat and taken to the French island of Reunion, where her older brother Zac was waiting for her on Saturday. She returned to her home in Thousand Oaks Monday night.

She said having to abandon her damaged vessel was very difficult.

Abby also said while the accident was unexpected, she was still prepared for anything.

"I knew what to do in case of that problem and because of that I felt comfortable out there."

She thanked everyone who helped in the rescue, particularly the French and Australian authorities, who footed the bill.

Abby said for now she's going to focus on school work and other typical teenager endeavors, like getting her driver's license.

Her parents were not at the press conference because her mother was in the hospital, preparing to give birth to her eighth child.

A spokesman said the Sunderlands planned to name the newborn boy "Paul" after the captain that rescued Abby.


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