SNARKY SAILOR SAFE!!!
photo from Yachting World
A 16-year-old sailor on a round-the-world journey alone was drifting in the frigid southern Indian Ocean on Friday as rescue boats headed toward her yacht, damaged by 30-foot waves that knocked out her communications and prompted her to set off a distress signal.
After a tense 20 hours of silence, a search plane launched from Australia's west coast made radio contact with Abby Sunderland on Friday.
Her boat's mast was broken — ruining satellite phone reception — and was dragging with the sail in the ocean, said search coordinator Mick Kinley, acting chief of the Australia Maritime Safety Authority that chartered a commercial jet for the search.
But the keel was intact, the yacht was not taking on water and Sunderland was equipped for the conditions, he said.
"The aircraft (crew) spoke to her. They told her help was on the way and she sounds like she's in good health," Kinley told reporters in Canberra.
"She's going to hang in there until a vessel can get to her," probably on Saturday, he said.
A lifelong sailor, Sunderland had begun her journey trying to be the youngest person to sail solo, nonstop around the world and continued her trip after mechanical failures dashed that dream.
She told searchers Friday that she was doing fine with a space heater and at least two weeks' worth of food, said family spokesman William Bennett. Support team member Jeff Casher said the boat had gotten knocked on its side several times.
Abby's father, Laurence Sunderland, thanked the Australian rescuers' quick response in sending out a search plane.
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