Australia to cover costs of Abby Sunderland's rescue
From: AAP June 11, 2010 6:11PM
AUSTRALIA will pay for its part in the search and rescue of teenage solo sailor Abby Sunderland who encountered extremely rough weather in the Indian Ocean.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority chief executive Mick Kinley said searchers saw and made radio contact with Abby just after 4pm (AEST) on Friday.
"She sounds like she's in good health, as far as we can tell, and she's going to hang in there,'' Mr Kinley said in Canberra.
Australian authorities commissioned a Qantas plane to search for Abby, who is about 3700km off the coast of Western Australia. Mr Kinley did not say how much the rescue mission would cost, but said there would be no attempt to recover costs.
Abby's emergency beacon went off outside Australia's search and rescue region, in the region of La Reunion and La Reunion asked Australia for assistance.
The boat then drifted into Australia's search and rescue region. Australia is now co-ordinating the rescue mission.
When asked if Australia would seek to get the money back, Mr Kinley said: "No, that's the way the system runs. "We would expect people to rescue any Australian yachtsman in these conditions,'' he said.
"It's our obligation to do this and we'll fulfil those obligations as Australia does.''
A vessel should reach her in about 24 hours, he told reporters at 5pm (AEST).