A 16-year-old California girl who was feared lost at sea while sailing solo around the world has been found alive and well, adrift in the southern Indian Ocean as rescue boats head toward her damaged yacht, officials said.
After a tense 20 hours of silence, a search plane launched from Australia's west coast made radio contact with Abby Sunderland on Friday in the frigid southern seas where her boat was repeatedly knocked down by huge waves and she lost satellite phone contact.
The boat's mast was broken - ruining satellite phone reception - and was dragging with the sail in the ocean, said search coordinator Mick Kinley, acting chief of the Australia Maritime Safety Authority that chartered a commerical jet for the search.
But the keel was intact, the yacht was not taking on water and Abby was equipped for the conditions, he said.
"The aircraft (crew) spoke to her. They told her help was on the way and she sounds like she's in good health," Kinley told reporters in Canberra.