US teenager rescued from ocean

A FRENCH fishing vessel yesterday rescued an American teenager from her crippled boat in the turbulent southern Indian Ocean.

Laurence Sunderland, the father of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, said that Australian maritime authorities had confirmed the rescue.

The teenager has been stranded in heavy seas since last Thursday, when she set off a distress signal after the mast collapsed, knocking out her satellite communications.

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An hour before the rescue, an Australian search and rescue spotter plane overflew Abby's boat and she fired off a flare to confirm her position.

The plane crew had been in contact with the rescue boat to try to determine how best to get Abby from one boat to the other amid concerns over the rough seas and the differing size of the two vessels.

Abby set out from Marina del Rey, near Los Angeles, on 23 January, trying to become theyoungest person to circumnavigate the globe solo.

Zac Sunderland, Abby's brother, held the record for just over a month last year until Briton Mike Perham completed his own journey.

Laurence said yesterday: "I never questioned my decision in letting her go."