Rescue Mission Launched to Find 16 year old Sailor Abby Sunderland

Abby Sunderland, the 16 year old girl who set out to sail the world alone, has gone missing early this morning somewhere off the coast of the Indian Ocean. The French-controlled Reunion Islands and Australia are heading the rescue effort to locate her.

According to the Australian coastguard, Abby set off both of her EPIRB devices shortly after losing cell reception with her parents. At the time the emergency signal was received, authorities stated that the nearest ship was approximately 400 miles away. Sunderland had been sailing in 50-60 foot seas and it was very dark outside.

The executive director of the American Sailing Association, Charlie Nobles,  said, "We're all praying for her and our thoughts are with her. If she's got the survival suit, and she's got the EPIRB and she's in pretty good shape, she's just got to try to hang on."

Abby's parents are also asking that everyone pray for the safe return of their daughter.

Update: Abby's parents posted a hopeful update on Abby's personal blog stating that, "Abby has all of the equipment on board to survive a crisis situation like this." They go on to promise any sort of update on Abby's well being.

Update # 2: Abby Sunderland was spotted approximately half way between the Africa and Australia this morning by a rescue pilot. They were able to make contact with her , and establish that she had remained safe over the 20 hour period that she was missing.  It is said that it will most likely be another 24 hours before any ship is able to reach her.(as of 6/11/10 @ 8am)