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Teen Solo Sailor Dismasted in Indian Ocean

11th June 2010
Teen Solo Sailor Dismasted in Indian Ocean

Teen solo sailor Abby Sunderland has been located alive and well, but dismasted, in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Sunderland was dismasted in heavy weather 2,000 miles east of Madagascar and 2,000 miles west of Australia. 

Communications were lost with the 16-year-old as she sailed in heavy weather on Thursday. Her EPIRB went off just hours after her parents last spoke to her from California. Sunderland's emergency signal sparked emergency callouts from Australia and the French island of Reunion, and she was located in the early hours of this morning by a chartered Airbus A330 that set off from Australia to search the area of the EPIRB this morning, arriving on site at first light.

Sunderland was attempting to wrest the title of youngest solo circumnavigator from Jessica Watson, who finished her round-the-world voyage in Sydney last month. The previous record holder was Sunderland's older brother.

The title of youngest circumnavigator has raised serious questions in recent years. A young Dutch sailor, whose parents were keen for her to challenge for the title, were prevented from letting her do so by a children's court in Holland. 

Published in News Update
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