Tribune News Service
New Delhi, September 24
After the rescue of Commander Abhilash Tomy from the Indian Ocean’s remote southern part, on Monday, the Navy now faces a challenge to quickly transport the injured officer to get him treated for his back injury.
The French fishing vessel, ‘FV Osiris’, that has rescued the Naval officer is taking him to tiny French held islands of Amsterdam, some 180 km north of the rescue site. The 10 sq km island is a French outpost. It has no landing strip to land a plane but has berthing jetty for a ship. It has a French doctor available, who can examine Commander Tomy and discuss the matter with Indian doctors and decide the further course of action.
From the Amsterdam islands the nearest place where a plane can land is Mauritius, some 3,111 km west. A Boeing P8-I surveillance plane of the Navy has been stationed there for now. But the journey from Amsterdam to Mauritius has to be done by sea. The decision will be made once a doctor examines Commander Tomy. He requires examination to prevent any lifelong impact to his spine.
India warship INS Satpura is expected to reach islands of Amsterdam by Friday. It can travel at a top speed of some 50 km per hour that means a three-day sail to Mauritius. The warship has a doctor on board. In case he cannot take the jolts of a plane taking off and landing, the Navy is planning to bring him home onboard warship INS Satpura. The journey from Islands of Amsterdam to Chennai is 5,444 km.
Commander Tomy was participating in the Golden Globe Race 2018 on board the indigenously built sailing vessel ‘Thuriya’. A huge storm with 50 feet high waves hit the sailing vessel on September 21. The vessels sailing mast broke and the Naval officer was thrown around resulting in a back injury.
The Indian Navy today said it was indebted to all the agencies involved in the rescue operation, especially Royal Australian Navy and FV Osiris for their timely and proactive help.
A ‘determined, focused’ sailor
Mumbai, September 24
Navy Commander Abhilash Tomy’s mentor and race manager Cdr (retd) Dilip Donde was a relieved man Monday after a French vessel rescued the injured sailor, whose yacht went adrift in the Indian Ocean for three days.
“Abhilash is very determined and focused. That he volunteered to circumnavigate the globe a second time itself speaks of his mental strength,” Cdr Donde told PTI on phone from Goa, where he is settled after retirement from the Navy.
“Initially, we were worried but now we are relieved,” Cdr Donde, who is credited with placing India in the group of countries whose sailors have accomplished solo circumnavigations, said. “None of us have spoken to him yet. But it looks like when he was inside, he suffered a back injury, which made him immobile,” he said.
Cdr Tomy was rescued by fishing vessel Osiris, which is referred to as the God of life, death, the flooding of the Nile and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. — PTI
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