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Breaking News: Abby Sunderland - Safe at Sea

Abby Sunderland, the 16-year-old California girl who was feared lost at sea while sailing solo around the world, is alive and well.

“Abby is Fine!” her parents reported on the teenager’s blog today. “The weather conditions are abating. Radio communication was made and Abby reports that she is fine!”

Rescue boats are heading toward Abby’s damaged yacht in the southern Indian Ocean, according to AP. After 20 hours with no communication from Abby, a search plane launched from Australia’s west coast finally made radio contact with her on Friday. Her boat had been repeatedly battered by waves and she had lost satellite phone contact.

Yesterday afternoon, things weren’t looking good when Abby hit a storm in the southern Indian Ocean east of Madagascar and lost contact with her family. After her yacht was pounded by huge waves midway to her destination in Australia, Abby had sent out distress signals.

Abby set out to become the youngest person to sail around the world solo. When she was feared lost, critics blamed her parents for allowing a teenager to take on such a daring and risky undertaking.  Her parents defended their decision on Friday, saying that their daughter’s global voyage was no more dangerous than other teenage activities.

“Let’s face it, life is dangerous. How many teenagers die in car accident[s]?” Abby Sunderland’s father, Laurence Sunderland, told ABC News’ “Good Morning America.”

Even when things were looking bleak, Abby’s family remained optimistic about her chances. “Abby has all of the equipment on board to survive a crisis situation like this. She has a dry suit, survival suit, life raft, and ditch bag with emergency supplies. If she can keep warm and hang on, help will be there as soon as possible,” they wrote on her blog.

A French ship is expected to reach the young adventurer sometime on Saturday, according to AP.

Abby set sail from Los Angeles in her boat, Wild Eyes, on Jan. 23 in an attempt to become the youngest person to sail around the world alone without stopping.

After Abby had to stop for repairs in April, she gave up her record-setting goal, but continued on her journey.

On May 15, Australian 16-year-old Jessica Watson claimed the record after completing a 23,000-mile circumnavigation in 210 days.

Let’s hear it for a happy ending!

Photo: http://soloround.blogspot.com/

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