Politics

Abby Sunderland Found Safe Aboard Boat in Indian Ocean

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The parents of Abby Sunderland are "jubilant" after finding out their daughter is indeed safe and still aboard her damaged-but-upright boat in a remote sector of the Indian Ocean.

Sunderland, the 16-year-old California teen who was trying to become the youngest person ever to travel the globe on a solo mission, was feared lost at sea when an emergency beacon was transmitted from her vessel. An Australian charter plane was immediately dispatched and located the girl alive.

"It is a huge relief, obviously," Laurence Sunderland told CNN after an Australian search plane spotted his 16-year-old daughter and her vessel. "[We feel] a great deal of jubilation and elation knowing that Abigail is safe."

According to AFP: The family has not been able to speak with the girl but said that rescue coordinators in Australia indicated that the pilot who spotted her reported that the boat was upright but that the rigging may have been damaged by waves.

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"The severe weather conditions she was experiencing the day before this all happened have abated and we're confident that when the fishing vessel arrives ... it will be a successful rescue," Sunderland said.

Australia scrambled a chartered passenger jet from Perth early on Friday to scour seas some 3,700 kilometers (2,300 miles) away.

Authorities in Reunion Island, near Mauritius, off eastern Africa, said a patrol craft and a trade ship had also been diverted to Sunderland's location, as well as a fishing boat which is expected to reach her within 24 hours.