American teenage sailor found safe

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The Independent Online

A 16-year-old Californian girl trying to sail solo around the world is safe and well after a search and rescue operation in the Indian Ocean was launched when she triggered distress signals.

Her parents had lost contact with Abby Sunderland on Thursday as her yacht, Wild Eyes, was pounded by huge waves in the southern Indian Ocean, but an Australian plane flew over her yesterday and made contact, and a French fishing vessel was on the way to rescue her.

"The aircraft spoke to her, they told her help was on the way, and she sounds like she is in good health," said Mick Kinley of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in Canberra. "She is going to hang in there until the vessel can get to her." Australian, US and French authorities had sent ships and a commercial airliner to an area 2,000 miles south-east of Madagascar and 2,000 miles south-west of Australia. She set sail in January.