Joint agency search underway for California girl attempting to sail around the world

ALAMEDA, Calif. – The Maritime Rescue Coordination center La Reunion, the Australian Coast Guard and and the U.S. Coast Guard have launched a search and rescue operation for 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, who was trying to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone.

The search for Sunderland began early this morning when the U.S. Coast Guard received an initial alert from two 406 MHZ emergency position indicating radio beacons aboard the 40-foot sailing vessel Wild Eyes at approximately 5:20 a.m. today. The Coast Guard contacted Sunderland’s family to inform them of the distress beacon’s activation. The EPIRB places Sunderland’s vessel approximately 1700 miles south east of Madagascar in the Southern Indian Ocean, and has moved approximately ten miles since the inital alert.

Three registered Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System vessels are within 700 miles of Sunderland’s location and have been diverted to assist in the search.

The U.S. Coast Guard is activley monitoring the situation and is working closely with MRCC La Reunion and the Australian Coast Guard.

AMVER is a unique, computer-based, and voluntary global ship reporting system used worldwide by search and rescue authorities to arrange for assistance to persons in distress at sea.With AMVER, rescue coordinators can identify participating ships in the area of distress and divert the best-suited ship or ships to respond.

The Coast Guard strongly recommends mariners obtain the 406 MHZ EBIRB and file a float plan with a friend or family member on land, with an approximate time of return and location prior to getting underway. A float plan template can be found at

EPIRB owners can register their equipment in the U.S. 406 MHz Beacon Registration Database at: or by calling 1-888-212-SAVE. Beacon registration is required to be updated with accurate information every two years or when emergency contact or other information changes.

For more information on EPIRBS visit

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