Teen solo sailor heads home - by plane

US teen sailor Abby Sunderland was today on her way home to California - by plane, not boat.

Abby, 16, arrived on the French island of Reunion yesterday after being rescued by a fishing vessel 2000 nautical miles off the Western Australian coast earlier this month.

She began her attempt to sail solo around the world in January but became stranded in the Indian Ocean on June 10 after storms smashed the mast of her sailboat, Wild Eyes, knocking out satellite phone reception.

The near-disaster triggered a frantic international rescue effort.

Abby was greeted in Reunion, east of Madagascar, by her brother Zac, who became the first person under the age of 18 to sail solo around the world when he completed his voyage last July at the age of 17.

Her parents, Laurence and Marianne Sunderland, remained at home in Thousand Oaks, California, where Marianne will soon to give birth to the couple's eighth child.

The Sunderland family was criticised for allowing Abby to attempt the dangerous voyage, but the teen called the criticism toward them "unfair and offensive."

Speaking to the media after coming to shore Abby said she was "really disappointed that things didn't go as planned."

Abby said the wild weather "ended my trip, but it didn't end my dream", adding that she was looking forward to getting home to LA and seeing her dog again.

Abby will hold a press conference�tomorrow at 10am�local time in southern California.


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