A French ship on Monday rescued an Indian sailor who was injured in the remote southern Indian Ocean during a round-the-world solo yacht race, Indian officials said.

India’s defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted that it was “a sense of relief to know that naval officer” Abhilash Tomy was “rescued by the French fishing vessel. He’s conscious and doing okay.” She said the ship would shift Tomy to a nearby island by evening and that later Indian navy’s frigate “will take him to Mauritius for medical attention.”

Indian navy spokesman Capt. D.K. Sharma said the 39-year-old Tomy was sailing his boat for a solo sailboat race around the world called the Golden Globe Race.

“He has been pulled out on a stretcher by a French fishing vessel. He is conscious and is in safe hands,” Sharma said.

Australian officials earlier said the french fisheries patrol boat Osiris headed the 740 kilometers (460 miles) to Tomy after his yacht, Thuriya, lost its mast in a storm on Friday.

The yacht was in Australia’s search and rescue zone 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometers southeast of the French island of Reunion, said Australian Maritime Safety Authority search and rescue officer Phil Gaden.

This photo provided by Indian Navy shows the yacht Thuriya of Indian Abhilash Tomy in the Indian Ocean Monday, Sept. 24, 2018. A French ship was expected to rescue the Indian sailor on Monday who was injured in the remote southern Indian Ocean during a round-the-world solo yacht race, an official said. (Indian Navy via AP)

He said Tomy had an injured back.

“It’s going to be a very difficult situation onboard,” Gaden told reporters. “The yacht is severely damaged with gear hanging over the side.”

“We do know he’s got a very severely injured back and we believe that he’s very restricted in his ability to maneuver. We also know he’s having difficulty keeping fluids down,” Gaden said.

Tomy, an Indian navy commander, had been keeping in contact with rescue authorities through texts, but batteries on his two devices were running low, Gaden said.

Another sailor in the Golden Globe Race, Irishman Gregor McGuckin, also lost his mast on Friday near Tomy and will also be rescued, Gaden said.

Source: The Associated Press

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