Sixteen-year-old solo sailor Abby Sunderland has been located adrift in the Indian Ocean and a French fishing boat is on its way to rescue her.
According to Sunderland’s family, an Australian search and rescue team has made contact with Abby and she is not injured. Her boat Wild Eyes, however, has been dismasted, and Australian authorities estimate it could be another day before she can be reached.
Abby’s family lost contact with her on June 10. Shortly afterward, search and rescue teams picked up signals from two of her three EPIRBs.
Abby had been reporting rough conditions with sustained winds of over 35 knots and gusts as high as 60 knots at the time. According to her family, she has also been experiencing engine trouble.
“We were helping her troubleshoot her engine that she was trying to start to charge her systems,” her family reported. “Satellite phone reception was patchy. She was able to get the water out of the engine and start her up. We were waiting to hear back from her when American Search & Rescue authorities called to report having received a signal from her emergency beacon. We initially thought that the signal was sent automatically from her water-activated EPIRB and that it had been activated during one of her knockdowns. As we pulled the paperwork from her EPIRB registration, we learned that the signal had come from her manually activated EPIRB.”
Sunderland began her journey from Marina Del Ray, California, on Jan. 23. She had originally hoped to set a record as the youngest person to complete a nonstop, solo circumnavigation under sail. However, she was forced to divert to Cape Town, South Africa, as a result of mechanical problems. She recently celebrated the halfway point of her voyage after setting out again from Capt Town on May 21.