Abby Sunderland, the 16 year old girl making a solo trip around the world, is missing at sea. The last contact was at 3:45 a.m. Thursday, just prior to her supposedly going to check equipment on her boat, and shortly before heading into a storm. Not long after, it is reported that she activated an emergency beacon which sent alerts to her family and the Coast Guard. As of this writing, the family is considering what may have taken place.
Her family thinks one of three things could have happened, and that she set off the beacon because something was wrong, not because she lost contact. Clear procedures were set for Abby while on the trip, and beacons were only to be activated when one of a set number of things took place. Loss of communication with family was not one of the reasons to activate a beacon. Her family is adamant that she activated the beacon because something was seriously wrong.
At this time, Abigail’s family think either the boat flipped over, she broke an arm or leg while trying to manage the boat in the violent Indian Ocean waters, or she lost the boat’s mast making it impossible for her to sail.
Right now, many parents are questioning the safety of a trip of this magnitude for a girl at that age, even though she is wise and worldly beyond her years; not to imagine the worst, but aside from storms, there are so many other things to consider. A 16 year old girl, in violent waters, in the Indian Ocean, with the nearest boat reportedly hours away in an emergency, at sea 5 or 6 months to make a new world record as youngest girl to sail around the world alone. Abby, wherever you are, our thoughts and prayers are with you.