- Title: USA: Teenage California girl sailor found
- Date: 12th June 2010
- Summary: THOUSAND OAKS, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES (JUNE 11, 2010) (REUTERS) VARIOUS EXTERIOR VIEWS OF SUNDERLAND FAMILY HOME (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM ABBY SPOKESMAN WILLIAM BENNETT SAYING: "The Australians volunteered to, believe it or not, charter an Airbus A330 out of Perth to fly, I think it was 5, 6 hours to the latitude-longitude position they were hearing the electronic emergency beacon and flew overhead and were able to communicate by marine band VHF radio, which they took along on the Airbus as a hand-held. Not a very powerful radio, so they had to get very close and very low. And they circled her and saw her with their eyes and talked to her on the radio. They could see that the mast had been torn off the boat. They could see that the sail was in the water. And they talked to her on the radio, and she said she's fine, but the problem is she can no longer sail the boat, which is why she turned on the emergency beacons." TV SATELLITE TRUCK OUTSIDE FAMILY HOME (SOUNDBITE) (English) TEAM ABBY SPOKESMAN WILLIAM BENNETT SAYING: "They're overjoyed. You cannot imagine the complete change between complete despair and hopefulness and prayer to being overjoyed that their daughter has been found and will be rescued within about 24 hours."
- Reuters ID: LVA6OGTE4MSG4IC9996WOW4WBI0N
- Location: Usa
- Country: USA
- Duration: 00:01:16
- Topics: General
- Story Text: A 16-year-old Californian girl attempting to sail solo around the world was found alive and well on Friday (June 11) after a massive search and rescue was launched in the Indian Ocean after she triggered distress signals.
Teenage adventurer Abby Sunderland was last heard from about 6 a.m. Pacific time (1300 GMT) on Thursday (June 10), when she broke off a satellite phone call as her yacht Wild Eyes was pounded by huge waves in the remote southern Indian Ocean.
An Australian aircraft flew over Sunderland Friday, reporting that her yacht had been dismasted and they believed the keel had been detached. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said conditions in the area were poor, with 90 kmh (56 mph) winds and a six metre (18 feet) swell.
When contacted by marine radio from the plane circling her at low altitude, William Bennett, a spokesman for Team Abby, said Sunderland told officials she would wait for a rescue vessel to reach her.
"They circled her and saw her with their eyes and talked to her on the radio. They could see that the mast had been torn off the boat. They could see that the sail was in the water. And they talked to her on the radio, and she said she's fine, but the problem is she can no longer sail the boat, which is why she turned on the emergency beacons," Bennett said outside the Sunderland home near Los Angeles.
The search for Sunderland involved Australia, U.S. and French rescue authorities sending ships and a commercial airliner to an area about 2,000 miles (3,219 km) southeast of Madagascar and 2,000 miles southwest of Australia.
Bennett said Sunderland's parents were thrilled to hear that their daughter had been found.
"They're overjoyed. You cannot imagine the complete change between complete despair and hopefulness and prayer to being overjoyed that their daughter has been found and will be rescued within about 24 hours," he said.
Sunderland's father, Laurence, earlier lost contact with his daughter during a satellite phone call and believed her boat may have rolled in treacherous conditions.
The two emergency beacons transmitting signals are attached to the boat and Sunderland's survival suit, and are activated manually by the sailor.
Laurence Sunderland said his daughter had all of the safety equipment she needed, including a cold water survival suit, life raft and bag with emergency supplies.
The area is one of the most difficult parts of the world to launch rescue operations. British solo sailor Tony Bullimore had to be rescued by an Australian navy frigate in 1996 after his yacht capsized during a race in which another competitor died.
During a blog entry written Wednesday, Sunderland, who began her trip in January, described sailing her boat through several days of rough weather, which apparently damaged a sail.
She said she was able to patch the sail, but added: "It wasn't the most fun job I've had out here. Wild Eyes was rolling around like crazy."
Sunderland had hoped to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe alone nonstop but had to give up her chance at that record when she was forced to pull into a port at Cape Town, South Africa, for repairs to her boat.
Her parents have been criticised by some in the media for allowing her to undertake the solo voyage at 16. Sailing experts have said that she was ill-advised to leave California in January, because she risked arriving in the Indian Ocean at the start of the winter season.
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