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Indian Navy's P-8I aircraft set to reach stranded Abhilash Tomy; French ship Osiris on its way for evacuation

In its efforts to rescue Indian Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy, who currently lies injured in his sailing vessel in the south of Indian Ocean, Indian Navy's P-8I aircraft will arrive on the scene to coordinate the final stretch very soon. The French ship, Osiris, which is on its way to rescue Tomy will launch two Zodiac boats to reach him and administer first aid and water before evacuation, India Today reported. Irish sailor Gregor McGuckin is also not far from Tomy but the weather is "hostile" and there are "eight-metre-high waves", the report said.

Meanwhile, Hindustan Times reported that thereafter R/V Australian Naval ship HMAS Ballarat, which had left Perth to reach Tommy will also reach him.

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on Sunday said that the officer would be rescued French vessel Osiris within the next 16 hours. Tomy, representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 (GGR) on an indigenously built sailing vessel Thuriya, was dismasted and suffered a back injury on Friday. He is in the south Indian Ocean, approximately 1,900 nautical miles from Perth, Australia and about 2700 nautical miles from Cape Comorin.

All out efforts are being made to rescue Tomy and the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre at Canberra is coordinating the rescue mission in conjunction with many agencies including the Australian Defence Department and the Indian Navy, the Navy said in a statement.  "Spoke to VCNS VAdm Ajit Kumar P, AVSM, VSM regarding the condition of injured navy officer Abhilash Tomy. The rescue mission is being coordinated in conjunction with the Australian Navy. The injured officer shall be picked up in the next 16 hours by a French vessel Osiris," the defence minister had tweeted.

The Navy said its P-8I aircraft has sighted the SV Thuriya at 7.50 am on Sunday.  The Indian Navy sources said the capability of the P8i has been a "humongous force multiplier" who has given it and the Australian MRCC a huge input into the state of Thuriya for planning purposes. An Indian Naval defence attaché in Australia is camping in regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC), the navy sources said.  "Continuous watch over the boat is being maintained by Indian Navy and RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) aircraft till rescue is completed.  "Indian Naval stealth frigate, INS Satpura with a Chetak Helicopter and tanker INS Jyoti operating in the Indian Ocean have been dispatched for the rescue mission. The officer in his last text message has indicated that he is safe on the boat; however is immobile due to a back injury," the statement added.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Sep 24, 2018 11:36:58 IST