A Navy warship rescued a sick toddler aboard a San Diego family’s sailboat Sunday hundreds of miles off the coast of Mexico.
Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena told USA TODAY the frigate USS Vandegrift reached the 36-foot Rebel Heart on Sunday, and the entire family was taken aboard the _Vandegrift bound for San Diego.
Charlotte and Eric Kaufman had attempted to sail across the Pacific Ocean with their daughters, Cora, 3, and Lyra, 1, according to their blog. The couple sent a distress ping to a satellite Thursday after Lyra became ill with a fever and rash.
That night, a four-person Air National Guard team from California’s 129th Rescue Wing parachuted into the ocean, inflated a boat and reached the Rebel Heart to provide immediate medical attention.
The Rescue Wing reported Saturday that Lyra’s condition had stabilized, but she needed medical treatment. Pararescuers stayed with the family and cared for the infant.
Pararescuers, sometimes called PJs or pararescue jumpers, combine parachuting, rescue techniques and emergency medical skills.
The Coast Guard said the Vandegrift reached the sailboat early Sunday. When daylight arrived, a Coast Guard statement said, the family and the California Air National Guard rescuer team were brought aboard using the Vandegrift’s rigid hull inflatable boat.
“The family and the infant are reported in stable condition,” the Coast Guard statement said. The Vandegrift is scheduled to arrive in San Diego midweek.
The rescue wrapped up several fearful days for family members. Charlotte Kaufman’s sister, Sariah Kay English, posted Friday on Facebook: “Please keep my sister in your prayers. I have yet to get in contact with them. Will update more when I know.”
The Rescue Wing said in a statement Saturday that the sailboat was almost 1,000 miles from Cabo San Lucas and had lost its steering and communication functions.
Continue reading at USA Today.