Abby Sunderland is going to be A-OK.
Attempting to sail around the world solo (and beat a record set by her older brother), the 16-year-old American girl was feared lost at sea Thursday after sending out a distress signal.
But on Friday, a family spokesman announced, "We know that Australian search and rescue has contacted her …she is alive and well…Radio communication was made and Abby reports she is fine!"
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reported early Friday that a French fishing vessel made contact with Sunderland's boat, Wild Eyes. "She's in the boat. The boat's seaworthy. It's not taking on seawater, and she's equipped for the conditions down there, we believe," official Mick Kinley told CNN.
Yet it could take up to a day for Sunderland to be rescued.
Wild Eyes was found in the southern Indian Ocean, about 2000 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, "a long way from any merchant shipping…we're just fortunate that the French fishing vessel was in that region," McKinley said.
Sunderland began her ambitious sailing trip on January 23 from Marina del Rey, Calif. She aimed to sail her 40-foot boat around the world without stopping — and to break the record set by her brother Zac. Last year, at age 17, Zac became the youngest person ever to sail the world on his own.
Abby kept her family and fans posted with blog posts. In her most recent entry, she wrote, "The last few days have (been) 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."
"She's pretty much unfazed by most everything, but she had been fatigued by this period of winds which she's been going through for several days now," a friend told CNN.
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