Rescued Indian and Irish sailors head for remote island

An Indian and an Irish sailor rescued from damaged sailboats in the remote southern Indian Ocean will be delivered to land on Tuesday when they reach an island and undergo medical assessments, an official said.

The French fisheries patrol boat Osiris rescued injured Indian Abhilash Tomy, 39, and Irishman Gregor McGuckin, 32, late Monday after their boats lost masts in a storm Friday while competing in the around-the-world Golden Globe Race.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which coordinated the rescues in the Australian search and rescue zone 3,500 kilometers (2,200 miles) southwest of the Australian city of Perth and 3,000 kilometers (1,875 miles) southeast of the French island of Reunion, said the sailors would land at a French research station on remote Amsterdam Island later Tuesday.

The station has a doctor and a small hospital where the conditions of both sailors would be assessed, the authority's response center manager Alan Lloyd said. Tomy had reported a back injury during the storm that had left him bedridden.

"Both sailors have been reported as well," Lloyd told reporters. "Tomy was able to assist himself by transferring off the vessel on to the Osiris."

India's defense minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, tweeted on Monday that it was "a sense of relief to know that naval officer" Tomy was "rescued by the French fishing vessel. He's conscious and doing okay."

She said an Indian navy frigate would take Tomy from Amsterdam Island to Mauritius for medical attention.

Lloyd said an Australian navy frigate would reach Amsterdam Island on Friday with plans to take the two sailors to the Australian port of Fremantle.

Whether Tomy went to Mauritius or Fremantle would depend on his medical assessment at Amsterdam Island, Lloyd said.

"At this stage, we would suggest his condition is stable, but obviously we await the final medical advice," Lloyd said.

An Indian Armed Forces P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft flying from Mauritius had helped authorities assess the conditions of the sailboats.

McGuckin had lost both masts, but had constructed a temporary jury-rig to get his sailboat to within a few kilometers (miles) of Tomy's boat. McGuckin was rescued a few hours after Tomy, Lloyd said.

Indian navy spokesman Capt. D.K. Sharma said Monday that Tomy was in third place in the race that began in France on July 1 when he lost his mast.

"I'm sure he would have brought laurels to the country. Unfortunately, this feat could not be completed," Sharma said. "But we are very happy that he's safe and sound and we'll soon have him back."