Mar 20, 2013, 12:00 PM EST
It’s the Year of Living Dangerously for kids, for sure. Every time I look up it seems some youngster is attempting a death-defying feat of some sort, with mom and dad’s permission. In the past couple of weeks we’ve told you about Jordan Romero, who at 13 became the youngest person ever to summit Mt. Everest. Then there’s 12-year-old Mexican bullfighter Michelito Lagravere, who has already been gored twice; the latest on Sunday.
Now, Abby Sunderland, who at 16 was attempting to become the youngest sailor to circumnavigate the globe, may be lost at sea. Her crew has lost contact with her, and two emergency beacons have been activated on her boat.
Abby’s mother, MaryAnne Sunderland, told ABC News that Abby manually activated two beacons around 6 a.m. Pacific Time Thursday.
Abby was in 20-25 foot waves at the time of last contact, with 35-knot winds, said MaryAnne Sunderland, who is due to give birth at the end of the month. She was shaken but focused on trying to get a rescue effort together.
The closest land to Abby’s boat was Reunion Island, which is east of Madagascar. The nearest ship was 400 miles away. Rescuers were trying to contact the ship.
I don’t pretend to understand the mindset that these parents have to allow their children to so blatantly court disaster. The common thread here seems to be that the adults want their children to “live their dreams,” but besides the obvious danger involved, there’s such a thing as peaking too early. So you’ve sailed the globe solo, or just climbed Mr. Everest, all before your high school prom. What do you do for an encore?
“Today, my eight-year-old son will strap himself to a rocket, which is pointed at the moon. I see no way this can and badly.” Live your dream, young man. And bring a warm coat.
At least the Balloon Boy dad had enough sense to fake the whole thing; his son rode out his adventure safely, in a box in the attic. And yet he’s is the parent who did jail time.
And now this January post from the blog Californality has a real tinge of sadness:
Living in the same community as Abby does, I first heard of her plan to sail around the world a while back. My first reaction to her plan was surprise and concern. She’s such a young girl. I know that probably sounds gender-biased, but sorry. The rest of the world is not sunny Southern California. What about bandits, the cartel and pirates?
I heard Abby saying that she knows God will totally protect her. She was very serious and meant it. Her family shares her conviction.
Abby was approximately 500 miles north of the Antarctic Islands when her crew lost contact with her. She began the trip from Marina del Rey in southern California on Feb. 19, with the latest leg completed this past Tuesday (South Africa to North of the Kerguelen Islands — 2,100 miles). She’s been blogging about the journey on her web site, with the latest entry put up this morning.
Her older brother, Zac Sunderland, completed the trip in 2009.
Abby Sunderland Feared Lost at Sea [ABC News]
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