The family was put into an inflatable raft then helped aboard the
USS Vandegrift, which arrived early on Sunday to rescue them from
their crippled sailboat about 1,000 miles off Mexico's Pacific
coast, the Coast Guard said.
The San Diego family was two weeks into a cruise around the world on
a 36-foot (11-meter) vessel called the Rebel Heart when the youngest
child developed a fever and rash, prompting her parents to send a
satellite distress call to the Coast Guard on Thursday.
Eric and Charlotte Kaufman and their daughters, Cora, 3, and Lyra,
1, were in stable condition and would undergo further medical
evaluations, the Coast Guard said in a statement. The frigate was en
route to California and the voyage was expected to take a day or
In a statement, the Kaufmans defended their decision to take their
children on the trip.
"We understand there are those who question our decision to sail
with our family, but please know that this is how our family has
lived for seven years, and when we departed on this journey more
than a year ago, we were then and remain today confident that we
prepared as well as any sailing crew could," the statement said.
The California Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing dispatched a
military transport plane and a team of four men on Thursday to
provide immediate medical assistance to Lyra, according to spokesman
Second Lieutenant Roderick Bersamina.
The rescuers, laden with medical gear and other supplies, parachuted
from the plane into the ocean, inflated a dinghy, motored toward the
boat and boarded to treat the girl.
"They took it upon themselves to do whatever necessary to save her
life," Bersamina said.
The rescuers then remained on the sailboat with the family while
they waited for the Navy ship to arrive.
"We are very thankful to be safe and well," the Kaufmans said. "We
also appreciate all the concern, thoughts and prayers ... for our
daughter Lyra. She is doing well now, and her medical condition
continues to improve."
[to top of second column]
The Kaufman family departed from Mexico on March 19, sailing toward
islands in the South Pacific and planning to reach New Zealand
eventually, according to www.therebelheart.com, where they have been
writing about their sometimes-stormy voyage.
Eric Kaufman describes himself as a licensed U.S. Coast Guard
captain and certified dive master.
In a post on her blog on March 26th, one week into the journey,
Charlotte Kaufman said the endeavor was proving difficult.
"I think this may be the stupidest thing we have ever done," she
wrote. "Why did we pick such a hard way of traveling? Stupid."
There were no plans to sink the stranded sailboat, Charlotte's
sister, Sariah English, said in a message posted on Facebook.
Instead it would be tagged and left behind.
Search and rescue missions are typically paid for by the Coast
Guard, said Lieutenant Dixon, who added she could not comment on
whether this rescue would be different.
(Additional reporting by Kevin Gray in Miami;
editing by Cynthia
Johnston, Raissa Kasolowsky, Paul Simao and Eric Walsh)
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.