The mother of 16-year-old sailor Abby Sunderland said the girl's family could not afford to pay for her rescue, which could cost as much as $300,000. Australian authorities flew a Qantas-branded Airbus passenger jet over the Indian Ocean to spot the girl and her disabled sailboat; they ultimately too over her rescue from the French. “What price would you put on a child's life?” Maryanne Sunderland said, according to the Telelegraph newspaper. ” … We're not wealthy people.”

An Australian official reportedly said that paying for the tab hasn't been worked out.

“The full cost of chartering an Airbus would be so high, you'd think they (Australian rescue authorities) would have to work with the US government for that,” Maryanne Sunderland said, according to the Telegraph.

As Abby Sunderland was en route back to a reunion with her family she defended her voyage and her aim to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe in a sail boat. Her boat became disabled last week as Abby Sunderland sailed into a rough Indian Storm, with seas reported at 25 feet. The “Wild Eyes” racing yacht lost its mast, and the teenager set off emergency beacons ans she held on to the aimless vessel.

“There are plenty of things people can think of to blame for my situation; my age, the time of year and many more,” she blogged. “The truth is, I was in a storm and you don't sail through the Indian Ocean without getting in at least one storm. It wasn't the time of year it was just a Southern Ocean storm. Storms are part of the deal when you set out to sail around the world.”

“As for age,” the teen wrote over the weekend, “since when does age create gigantic waves and storms?

LA Weekly