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Posted at 3:12 PM ET, 06/13/2010

NOAA computer helped save teen at sea

By Washington Post Editors

A military official says a NOAA computer in Maryland helped play a part in the rescue of teenage solo sailor Abby Sunderland.

The computer is housed at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Search and Rescue Satellite control center in Suitland. The Suitland computer relayed data from an emergency beacon on Sunderland's boat to the U.S. Coast Guard's Pacific Area command in Alameda, Calif., and French authorities. Lt. Shawn Maddock, who is stationed at the Suitland center, said the beacon can only be activated manually, so rescuers knew she had the presence of mind and physical ability to use the device.

A French fishing boat brought her on board Saturday more than 2,000 miles west of Australia.

--Baltimore Sun

By Washington Post Editors  | June 13, 2010; 3:12 PM ET
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Wow! Can we visit the computer and get its autograph?
/waste of electrons.

Posted by: gth1 | June 13, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

GTH1.. Your comment is a waste of electrons. Get out from in front of the computer and stop playing hooky from school. You have a way to go before you can be considered "educated".

Posted by: Longview | June 14, 2010 6:38 AM | Report abuse

Am I the only one wondering who is going to pay for all the manpower used to rescue this girl? The parents should pay for being foolish enough to allow this underage girl to take on this endeavor. What kind of parents would let their child do this anyway??

Posted by: donnabee1 | June 14, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

"Maryland Computer" yea right..

Posted by: genbarlow | June 14, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I agree with donnabee,

Every time one of these " I wanna be the center of attention" people set off on one of these super expensive "record" trips (balloon trips, climbing, sailing etc) I've always said they are only a million dollar public taxpayer rescue away from death.

Retasking a handful of private vessels to rescue her, chartering large passenger jets for search and rescue (at ~100K an hour), manpower etc, rescuing this 10th grader from her idiocy will cost "others" a couple million dollars.

These people want to do things like this? Fine, but you also have to agree to pay for any and all search and rescue attempts if they are needed because this is just another waste of tax payer dollars for bored people of means who could afford their own rescues anyway.

Posted by: Nosh1 | June 14, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I'm so tired of people going on and on about the parents needing to pay for the rescue effort. The girl went sailing. Thousands of people do it every day. They even (OMG) sail across the oceans. Routinely. Some of them get into trouble. This girl had professionals monitoring the weather and advising her on her route. She got into rough weather, and it damaged her boat. It had nothing to do with her age. For all of you whining about paying the money for the rescue, I assume you are all Australian taxpayers? They're the ones footing the bill. And what makes you so sure that the Dad didn't take out insurance to cover an emergency evac? They sell it, and it is fairly cheap. He was very careful to prepare his daughter for whatever she might run into. I would be surprised if he wasn't prepared financially for the very real possibility of a rescue attempt or a medical emergency.

@Nosh1, $100k/hr to charter a passenger jet? I can get a roundtrip ticket tomorrow on an A320 from Washington to LA for $772. Thats about 11 hours of flight time. The plane holds 156 people. The cost to buy all 156 seats works out to about $11k/hour. Add a few hundred dollars an hour more for the SAR personnel.

Posted by: bs0123 | June 17, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

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