Flickr photo by Mr. UsajiAbby Sunderland, the 16-year-old teen from Southern California who is sailing solo around the world, is feared missing at sea.
On January 23, Abby set sail from Los Angeles in hopes of becoming the youngest person to sail around the world alone without stopping. A few months later, she ran into equipment problems and gave up her goal of setting the world record, but continued on her sail.
She was halfway there by Monday, according to her website, but now she might be in trouble somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.
Abby posted this on her blog on Wednesday, June 9:
"The last few days have pretty busy out here. I've been in some rough weather for awhile with winds steady at 40-45 knots with higher gusts. With that front passing, the conditions were lighter today. It was a nice day today with some lighter winds which gave me a chance to patch everything up. Wild Eyes was great through everything but after a day with over 50 knots at times, I had quite a bit of work to do ...
The wind is beginning to pick up. It is back up to 20 knots and I am expecting that by midnight tonight I could have 35-50 knots with gusts to 60 so I am off to sleep before it really picks up."
She hasn't been heard from since.
Family spokesman Christian Pinkston says rescuers began searching for Abby Sunderland on Thursday somewhere between Africa and Australia. He says her beacons activated overnight and there has been a loss of communication.
According to GrindTV, Laurence Sunderland -- Abby's boat-builder father -- struggled with emotions and said he didn't know if his daughter was in a life raft or aboard the boat, or whether the boat was upside down.
Abby's trip was controversial from the start with many criticizing her parents for allowing her to take the trip.
"It is dangerous," Abby told the CBS Early Show. "But you have to kinda understand what you're getting into and be ready for it."
Her father said Abby was ready for the challenge, and to those who said the trip was too dangerous for such a young girl, he said, "I don't agree with them. Not everybody should be put into a box, the boxes of society."
Abby's blog profile reads:
"It has been my dream since I was 13 years old and began single-handing, to one day sail solo around the world. I am 16 years old and this blog will contain the story of my attempt to become the world's youngest solo circumnavigator."
She sounds like an amazing, adventurous, and brave girl.
My heart goes out to Abby's family. I hope they find her.