By THOMAS WATKINSAssociated Press WriterTHOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — A French fishing vessel rescued a California teenager Saturday from her crippled sailboat in the turbulent southern Indian Ocean, her family and rescue officials said.Laurence Sunderland, the father of 16-year-old Abby Sunderland, told reporters outside his home that maritime authorities had contacted him to confirm the rescue.Sunderland has been stranded in heavy seas since Thursday, when she set off a distress signal after the mast collapsed, knocking out her satellite communications.The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the French ship Ile De La Reunion used one of its boats to bring Sunderland on board from her stricken craft Saturday afternoon (about 2:45 PDT).An hour before the rescue, an Australian search and rescue spotter plane overflew Sunderland’s boat and she fired off a flare to confirm her position, her brother Zac told reporters.The crew on the plane had been in contact with the rescue boat to try to determine how best to get Sunderland from one boat to the other amid concerns over the rough seas and the differing size of the two vessels.Sunderland set out from Los Angeles County’s Marina del Rey on Jan. 23, trying to become the youngest person to… Read full this story
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