16 Year Old Abby Sunderland Missing, Feared Lost at Sea Attempting to Become Youngest Sailor to Circumnavigate the Globe (UPDATE: Found Safe)


16 year old Abby Sunderland is missing and feared lost at sea.  Abby Sunderland was attempting to be the youngest sailor ever to circumnavigate the globe. Her support crew lost contact with Abby, who was in heavy seas in the Southern Indian Ocean. At her last contact, Sunderland was in 20-25 foot waves at the time of last contact, with 35-knot winds.


Abby Sunderland’s blog.

 ”The boat is most likely not completely submerged because there’s another alarm that sends off a signal if it goes 15 feet underwater,” Zac Sunderland said in an interview with Ron Kilgore of KNX radio in Los Angeles. “So yeah, she’s pretty banged up out there right now, and [we're] just trying to get the rescue teams out.”

Abby’s mother, MaryAnne Sunderland, told ABC News that Abby manually activated two emergency beacons sometime before 6 a.m. Pacific Time today.

 A plane from Qantas air, based in Australia, planned to fly over Sunderland’s location at first light Friday — or late Thursday evening Eastern Time.


One really has to question how on earth a parent would allow a 16 yeao old to attempt such a risky and dangerous endeavour. Presently, a search operation is underway for the missing Abby Sunderland. She is believed to be alive and floating in the Indian Ocean.

The engineer behind Abby Sunderland’s solo trip around the world says he believes the 16-year-old Thousand Oaks sailor is “alive” and “most likely floating” in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Speaking to a throng of reporters outside the family’s home, Jeff Casher said he spoke to her at 3:45 a.m. Thursday, then lost contact after she went to check on some equipment on her boat. About an hour later, she apparently activated her emergency beacons – devices that sent automatic alerts to the Coast Guard and her family.

Casher said the family is looking at three possible scenarios. Either the boat’s mast came down, giving her no ability to sail the vessel; the keel hit something and possibly flipped the boat upside down; or she may have broken an arm or leg while being whipsawed about in violent waters.

Abby Sunderland: Australia Sends Airbus to Find Sailor Lost in Indian Ocean.

UPDATE I: 16 Year Old Abby Sunderland Found Alive

Thankfully, Abby Sunderland has been located and she is well; however, she still needs to be rescused. SM understands that sailing is this girl’s passion, but at 16 and with this near tragic event that occured, it will be interesting to see whether her parents allow another such voyage. However, in the end than God that she is safe and sound. As stated at Balloon Juice, maybe some risk management assessments need to be more thought out if you are going to let a 16 year ols risk their life in such an adventure.

A spotter jet over the Indian Ocean late Thursday made contact with 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, the Thousand Oaks solo sailor who was adrift in rough seas and heavy winds in her quest to circumnavigate the globe, a spokesman for the teen’s family said.

The Qantas Airways jetliner with dozens of harbor patrol spotters on board made radio contact with Sunderland.

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  • Miracle … 5 Year old Hannah Klamecki Feared Drowned … Found Alive
  • Dutch Officials Say 14 Year Old Sailor Laura Dekker Missing Since 12/18/09 (UPDATE: Found in Caribbean)

  • Comments

    11 Responses to “16 Year Old Abby Sunderland Missing, Feared Lost at Sea Attempting to Become Youngest Sailor to Circumnavigate the Globe (UPDATE: Found Safe)”

    1. john on June 10th, 2010 11:35 pm

      I hope this idiot family is held responsible for the cost of the search.

    2. Sparks on June 11th, 2010 12:34 am

      I hope they are able to recover her safely. My thoughts and prayers are with her.

    3. just1girl on June 11th, 2010 1:42 am

      Sailing is what they do. Her brother briefly held the record for being the youngest person to sail around the world in 2009. Why sit in judgement? She’s a young person full of confidence, with a goal. She could be a young person with no goals, doing drugs & partying. I pray she is in her survival suit & flotation gear. Prayers for you safety Abby!

    4. World Wide News Flash on June 11th, 2010 2:16 am

      16 Year Old Abby Sunderland Missing, Feared Lost at Sea Attempting ……

      I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)

    5. Deb on June 11th, 2010 4:07 am

      I just heard that they found her about 2000 miles off the coast of Australia. Thank the Lord she is all right. They are sending a rescue ship to pick her up.

    6. Brenda on June 11th, 2010 6:32 am

      john, if they can afford to send this kid off around the globe in a boat…the ain’t broke. Yeah, they need to help out for $ure. If I found my tax dollars paid for this search…oh boy.

    7. Brenda on June 11th, 2010 6:34 am

      BUT…I am VERY glad the girl is OK. Need to be sure that is added and I do think they would not have allowed it if she wasn’t brilliant at doing this. My guess is she will try again at some point. In her blood now.

    8. not surprised at all on June 11th, 2010 9:21 am

      Perhaps I missed this in the ScaredMonkeys blog thread…..


      Pretty interesting and shows the depths of his deviousness. Fake you are locked out of your room in order to get fingerprints that aren’t yours on the doorknob. Thus, you can state that you believe that someone from the hotel committed the murder while you were out for coffee.

      Sick puppy.

    9. NGBoston on June 11th, 2010 12:42 pm

      So happy they found her! What a brave teenager for her attempts at a journey of this scale…alone!

      It’s nice to read some good news for a change

    10. SteveDinMD on June 12th, 2010 11:02 am

      Allowing a child to attempt a solo circumnavigation of the world was a supremely foolish decision by her parents. It was a stunt that served no purpose at all except to put the girl at risk in the interest of seeking notoriety and possibly a book deal or TV movie of week. She very easily could have died. More seriously, those attempting to rescue this foolish child were gratuitously put at risk of their own lives. In fact, the captain of the French fishing boat actually fell overboard during the rescue and very easily could have died, himself.
      This reminds me of the situation ~15 years ago when there was a “competition” among those attempting to become the youngest to fly across North America. At that time, there were a succession of ever younger record holders until, at one point, a 7 year old boy crashed his plane on takeoff killing himself, his father, and his flight instructor during one such attempt. With dozens of would-be record holders making ready their own attempts, this sad and dangerous state of affairs ended only when Congress modified the laws to set a minimum age for those operating an aircraft.
      Perhaps the time has come to modify U.S. maritime laws, as well. Currently, there are NO licensing requirements for those operating certain vessels, among them most pleasurecraft. Perhaps it should now be mandated that any vessel operating in U.S. territorial waters beyond three miles from shore be under the command of a maritime license holder who must remain on board at all times. It should perhaps be further mandated that no one be granted such license until having at least attained the age of 18 years, effectively preventing future instances of child endangerment, or at least those originating from U.S. shores.

    11. Dragko on June 15th, 2010 7:23 pm

      I could not disagree more with the poster above. I have a 8 year old daughter who dreams big.

      Thankfully she is pretty timid so I likely will not have to deal with a voyage to sea. But I commend these parents for allowing their daughter to attempt to achieve a dream. I say if you would stand in front of your child when they were CLEARLY chasing a dream you should be punished.

      Everyone’s life is made up of a handful of incomplete dreams and a bucket of memories in the end and unless you believe in unicorns and rainbow slides you better make the best of it cause it aint getting any better.

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