Southern California teen sailor Abby Sunderland was reported to be in “good spirits” after an airliner spotted her aboard her distressed sailboat and a rescue plane subsequently circled overhead as she awaited sea-bound help in the Indian Ocean Friday. The 16-year-old from Thousand Oaks, who had wanted to become the youngest person to sail around the world, was feared to be lost at sea Thursday after her sailboat was disabled by 25 foot seas and she sent out distress signals.

“Abby is in very good spirits,” Will Blackshaw, leader of an airborne crew from Australia that made brief radio contact with her, told ABC News. “She's obviously keen to have some assistance, but she is in very good spirits.”

Her family had blogged about the rough waters she faced this week. The storm reportedly broke the mast of her 40-foot racing yacht, Wild Eyes. Rescue boats were still reported to be hours away. Still, her family was elated that she was alive.

“It's huge, fantastic, exciting news,'' her father, Laurence Sunderland, told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

She had set off from Marina Del Rey on Jan. 23.

LA Weekly