Abby Sunderland Feared Lost At Sea After Contact Severed
Abby Sunderland May Be Lost At Sea After Communication With Her Boat, the 'Wild Eyes' Was Severed
Abby Sunderland is hoping to become the youngest person ever to complete a solo sail around the world, but her family and authorities are concerned she may be lost out at sea after the crew lost contact with her boat. Sunderland has a support team and Jeff Casher told ABC that two emergency beacons on her boat are flashing that she is in trouble. It is thought that Abby turned on the beacons herself at about 6am PDT on June 10. One beacon that is designed to light when it hits the water has not gone off, leaving her family to hope that it means her boat is still upright.
Abby is closest to Reunion Island, east of Madagascar, but it is far away and the nearest ship is 400 miles away. Her crew are now trying to contact that ship. When contact was lost between Abby and her family, her mother MaryAnne Sunderland said Abby was in 20-25 foot waves with 35-knot winds.
Just before contact was lost her boat's sail had touched the water twice due to the strong winds, according to ABC. She was trying to fix engine problems when she told Mr. Casher she would call him right back and that is the last time they heard from her.
The last entry from her blog, dated June 9 reads:
The wind is beginning to pick up. It is back up to 20 knots and I am expecting that by midnight tonight I could have 35-50 knots with gusts to 60 so I am off to sleep before it really picks up.
Her parents and Abby knew how dangerous this journey could be before she set off and her parents spoke to 20/20 about their fears:
"Could there be a tragedy?" MaryAnne Sunderland said. "Yeah, there could be. But there could be a tragedy on the way home tonight, you know, or driving with her friends in a car at 16. You minimize the risks."
"You arm them with the coping skills," Laurence Sunderland said. "And then you pray."
Jesse Martin completed a solo sail around the world in 1999 when he was only 17. Abby's brother Zac Sunderland also completed a solo sail around the world when he was 17 in the summer of 2009.
Abby originally wanted to be the youngest person ever to sail solo around the world non-stop, but that dream had to end when she was forced to stop in Cape Town as her boat needed repairs.
Let's hope Abby is safe and sound out there on her own and contact will be made again soon.
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