The parents, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, and their two daughters,
3-year-old Cora and 1-year-old Lyra, left the Navy frigate
Vandegrift after the ship arrived in port around 10 a.m. local time
and were taken to see their family doctor, according to Lieutenant
Lenaya Rotklein of the Third Fleet.
Rotklein declined to give any further information about the arrival
of the Kaufmans at Naval Air Station North Island on San Diego Bay
except to say all four family members were "stable when they
departed" and were met at the port by relatives.
The Kaufmans, whose boat was their home but are from San Diego, did
not speak to reporters on their arrival.
The family was two weeks into a planned around-the-world cruise on
their 36-foot (11-metre) sloop when Lyra developed a fever and rash,
prompting her parents to send a distress call to the Coast Guard by
satellite phone last Thursday.
In addition to the child falling ill, the family reported that their
boat, christened the Rebel Heart, took on water whenever they tried
to start the vessel's engine, the Coast Guard said.
A four-man rescue team from the California Air National Guard was
dispatched by military plane to the scene, about 1,000 miles out in
the Pacific off Mexico, to render medical assistance. The team
parachuted into the ocean and boarded the family's vessel late on
Thursday to treat the child.
The rescuers then remained on the sailboat with the family until the
Vandegrift, which had been conducting routine operations off the
Southern California coast, arrived on Sunday to take all four
Kaufmans aboard for a return voyage.
The Kaufmans' crippled sailboat, listing badly and considered a
navigation hazard, was scuttled by the father himself, who cut holes
in the vessel and then watched it sink after he was taken off the
yacht on Monday morning, Navy officials said.
[to top of second column]
News of the family's plight generated considerable online chatter
about whether the parents had exercised poor judgment in embarking
on a round-the-globe sailing voyage with an infant and a toddler.
Defending their decision to set sail with their young children, Eric
Kaufman issued a statement from sea on Sunday saying, "This is how
our family has lived for seven years. ... We remain confident that
we prepared as well as any sailing crew could."
Lieutenant Colonel Nando Polo of the Air National Guard said the
father approached him after the family arrived in port and
"basically apologized for putting us through all this."
"I told him he did fine, and he doesn't owe anyone an apology," Polo
said. "Even when things went wrong for him, he made all the right
decisions. He saved his family."
(Reporting by Marty Graham; writing and additional reporting by
Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Cynthia Johnston, Jonathan Oatis and Ken Wills)
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