Abby Sunderland found safe in Indian Ocean

Contact has been made with Abby Sunderland after loss of communication and safety beacons being activated during a storm in the Indian Ocean on Thursday. The 16-year-old attempting a sailing trip around the world was found with her boat upright and her mast knocked off. Abby appears to be fine and was handling things well. She had plenty of food and was prepared to wait for a rescue boat when the Qantas Airbus contacted her by radio around 11:30 Pacific time on Thursday evening.
Abby Sunderland
The support crew and family had feared Abby may have become separated from her boat during the storm, or that she may have been injured and trapped inside. However, Abby was apparently unhurt and remained calm and collected as she prepared to stay warm and wait for the rescue boat. She was tired, though, after having fought 25 foot waves and 35-knot winds, and endured at least two knockdowns. Australian sailor Ian Kiernan has called the trip ill planned and “foolhardy,” stating that arrival in the Indian Ocean winter waters is dangerous even for the most seasoned sailors, and no place for a 16 year old to be all alone.

Marty Still, the builder of Jessica Watson’s boat that sailed the world earlier this year, criticized the Sunderland team for choosing the wrong boat for the passage, stating it was built not for safety, but for speed, and difficult for one person to sail alone. Harshest comments came from the U.S., where shocked parents are enraged that parents would allow a 16 year old to attempt such a hazardous voyage alone. The Sunderlands maintain their stance, however, stating that a tragedy can occur anywhere at anytime. Overall, the main thing is that Abby Sunderland is safe and for the time being, out of harm’s way.


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