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India

In final stretch, hostile weather slows down Navy commander's rescue

Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy who was injured in southern Indian Ocean during a round-the-world solo yacht race is expected to rescued soon by a French ship, said Australian authorities on Monday.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue officer Phil Gaden said the fisheries patrol boat FPV Osiris has been heading the 740 kilometers (460 miles) to Tomy, 39, since his yacht Thuriya lost its mast in a storm on Friday, reported The Associated Press.

Gaden said the yacht is in Australia’s search and rescue zone 3,500 km southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometers southeast of the French island Reunion. Gaden said the rescue could be treacherous because the yacht is badly damaged and Tomy has an injured back

Tomy is immobile after a back injury and is in the cabin of his boat. His rescue communication devices are running out of charge and he is barely responding to text messages, reported NDTV. French vessel Osiris is facing hostile weather in reaching him.

Tomy was representing India during the Golden Globe Race 2018 but his indigenously-built boat lost its mast after being caught in the storm that whipped up 14-metre high waves.

Tomy became the first Indian to circumnavigate the globe onboard his boat Mhadei - solo, non-stop and unassisted - in 2013. He was awarded India’s second-highest peace-time gallantry award, Kirti Chakra, for the feat.

Among those praying for Tomy’s rescue was the all-woman crew of Indian Navy’s sailing vessel Tarini, which created history by circumnavigating the globe in a gruelling 254-day voyage.

“He imparted us hands-on training in Mumbai before we started sailing on the Mhadei…He has been an inspiration and hope for millions of Indians who dream big and want to achieve their goals,” said Tarini skipper Lieutenant Commander Vartika Joshi.

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