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Teenage sailor Abby Sunderland one step closer to home

She lands at Reunion Island near Madagascar, where she is met by her older brother, Zac, and some members of her support team. She is en route to L.A. and plans to have a news conference Tuesday.

June 26, 2010|By My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times

Abby Sunderland, the teenage sailor who was rescued after her yacht became disabled by strong waves in the Indian Ocean while attempting a solo around-the-world voyage, was one step closer to home Friday night when she landed at Reunion Island, near Madagascar.

Several people were waiting for her on the island: her older brother, Zac, who sailed around the world alone at age 17 in 2009, and some members of her support team, according to her blog.

After she arrived about 10 p.m. Pacific time, Sunderland told reporters that she was "really disappointed that things didn't go as planned," the Associated Press reported.

Sunderland's 40-foot yacht Wild Eyes was struck by 25-foot-high waves June 10. The 16-year-old triggered several emergency beacons and drifted for two days before being rescued by the French fishing vessel Ille de la Reunion.

She was later transferred to the French fisheries patrol vessel Osiris, headed for Reunion Island, said Stacey Kinnane, a search-and-rescue officer for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which coordinated the rescue.

Sunderland is scheduled to return shortly to Los Angeles and to her home in Thousand Oaks. She will hold a news conference Tuesday, her blog states.

Sunderland attempted to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world nonstop. She departed Marina del Rey on Jan. 23.

"We have spoken to Abby and she is in good health and spirits," states a post on her blog.

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