Teen contacted by searchers

Updated: June 11, 2010, 3:01 AM ET
Associated Press

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- A family spokesman says searchers have contacted a 16-year-old Southern California girl who was feared lost at sea and she is alive and well.

William Bennett said late Thursday night that searchers aboard an Airbus A330 spotted Abby Sunderland's boat in an upright position and made contact with her via radio.

Speaking outside the family's Thousand Oaks home, Bennett said Sunderland said she was inside the boat and doing fine with a space heater and at least two weeks worth of food.

Bennett said the mast had broken off the disabled boat.

He said a fishing vessel was en route to pick her up. The vessel is expected to reach her in about 40 hours.

Sunderland had been attempting a solo sail around the world was feared in trouble Thursday thousands of miles from land in the frigid, heaving southern Indian Ocean after her emergency beacons began signaling and satellite phone communication was lost.

An international effort to rescue Sunderland began.

Qantas airlines said in a statement that an Airbus A330 tasked by the safety authority took off at 7:53 a.m. Friday Perth time.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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