An Indian Navy soldier has been severely injured as severe storm rattled the 2018 Golden Globe Race across the South Indian ocean.
According to the report issued from the Les Sables d’Olonne, France, the 70 knot winds and 14 metre high seas have left the yachts of Indian Navy's Abhilash Tomy and Ireland's Gregor McGuckin dismasted, and have twice knocked down the yacht of second-placed Dutchman Mark Slats.
Both McGuckin and Slats report that they are okay, but 39-year-old Tomy, a commander in the Indian Navy making his second solo circumnavigation, has been injured. Tomy is representing India in the Golden Globe Race 2018 on an indigenously built sailing vessel 'Thuriya'.
"A CODE RED ALERT was issued after Race HQ received his message at 12:09 UTC today: ROLLED. DISMASTED. SEVERE BACK INJURY. CANNOT GET UP," it said.
Maritime Rescue Authorities were alerted, the report said.
It said other entrants have been asked to make towards Tomy's position if possible, and added that the weather and sea was extreme.
The nearest yacht happens to be Gregor McGuckin's Biscay 36 Hanley Energy Endurance, some 90 miles to the southwest of Tomy's Thuriya, but she too was dismasted in the same storm.
Gregor reported earlier that his yacht was a mess below, but providing his diesel supplies have not been contaminated, has sufficient fuel to motor towards Tomy's position if conditions allow, the report added.
Both Tomy and McGuckin are some 1,900 miles west of Cape Leeuwin, West Australia, it said.
The Indian Navy commander is in the South Indian Ocean, approximately 1,900 nautical miles from Perth in Australia, 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, he said quoting information received from organisers.
Indian Navy officer, Commander Abhilash Tomy, who became the first Indian to have circumnavigated the globe in 2013, is the only Indian participating in the Golden Globe Race that involves a gruelling 30,000-mile solo circumnavigation of the globe.
The adventurous event began in July this year from France.
Meanwhile, Rescue efforts led by Australian Defence Forces are underway off Perth to find Abhilash Tomy. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman Dan Glover said the authority have arranged for a nearby French fisheries patrol vessel to go to the scene but it could take days to reach the injured naval officer. An aircraft and other racing yachts may be able to check on the yacht in the meantime. The Australian Airforce’s p-8A poseidon surveillance aircraft has also been tasked to monitor the yacht - it is expected to reach the scene on Saturday night.
The Indian Navy has also been alerted and is on standby to assist in the search effort.
"All out efforts are being made to rescue Abhilash Tomy. Indian Naval stealth Frigate, INS Satpura operating in the Indian Ocean has been dispatched for the rescue mission," a Defence spokesman said in Kochi.