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Abby Sunderland's Mom: U.S. Taxpayers Should Pay for Rescue

The family of Abby Sunderland will not be reimbursing Australia for the $300,000 cost of finding her in the middle of the treacherous Indian Ocean. In fact, Abby's mother suggested American taxpayers should foot the bill.

"We're not wealthy people," MaryAnne Sunderland said.

She added that if Australia really wanted its money back, it should place a call to Washington, D.C. "The full cost of chartering an Airbus would be so high, you'd think they would have to work with the U.S. government for that," she tells Australia's Courier-Mail.

But Australian officials no such call will be made. There will be no effort to recoup the money.

"No, that's the way the system runs," Australian Maritime Safety Authority chief executive Mick Kinley said. "It's our obligation to do this and we'll fulfill those obligations as Australia does.''

He added. "We would expect people to rescue any Australian yachtsman in these conditions."

It's nice to know someone is doing the right thing here. Now, back to the Sunderlands.

When that French fishing boat picked up Abby, it left her disabled vessel behind. So the unwealthy Sunderlands began an Internet campaign to raise money to tow it back to shore.

"Help save Abby Sunderland's boat Wild Eyes," her W,eb site said, directing visitors to a page where they could make credit card donations.

More than 60 people answered the call. But after raising just $2460, the family gave up. That's far, far less than the estimated $130,000 it would cost to get the boat to a harbor.

But never fear -- the family is still collecting money through the online sale of some 30 lines of merchandise, from shoes to stickers and signed posters.

And there's the upcoming Sunderland reality show!


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