Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old solo sailor who ran into trouble in the middle of the Indian Ocean this week, has been rescued.
Sunderland was reported to be in good health after being plucked from her damaged vessel 2,000 nautical miles off western Australia by the crew of the French fishing ship the Ile De La Reunion at 7.45pm AEST.
The crew of the Ile De La Reunion, a considerably larger vessel than Sunderland’s Wild Eyes, dispatched a smaller boat to pick her up.
The rescue, coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Center -- Australia (RCC Australia), was conducted with the support of a Global Express aircraft, which provided top cover during the transfer and served as a communications relay between Wild Eyes and the Ile De La Reunion. The crew of the Ile De La Reunion conducted the rescue with a boat launched from the fishing vessel.
RCC Australia has notified Sunderland’s family in Thousand Oaks, Calif.. Arrangements to take Sunderland ashore will now be negotiated with the three ships that responded to the distress call.
International Maritime Organization guidelines indicate that such arrangements should avoid disruption to commercial shipping as far as possible. Since the fishing vessel would suffer significant losses from leaving the fishing grounds, it is possible that Sunderland will be transferred to one of the other ships. One ship is bound for Australia; the other would probably return to its home port at La Reunion.