| LOS ANGELES, April 7
LOS ANGELES, April 7 A family of four rescued
from their sailboat after the youngest of two children became
seriously ill are due to return to California on Wednesday
aboard a U.S. warship that picked them up over the weekend, Navy
and Coast Guard officials said.
Military officials declined on Monday to give any details on
the medical condition of 1-year-old Lyra Kaufman except to say
that she, her 3-year-old sister, Cora, and their parents, Eric
and Charlotte Kaufman, were all safe as they headed back to port
in San Diego.
"I know she's stable enough to stay on board the ship to
continue to San Diego," Coast Guard spokeswoman Lieutenant Anna
The family was two weeks into a planned around-the-world
cruise on their 36-foot (11-meter) sloop when Lyra developed a
fever and rash, prompting her parents to send a distress call to
the Coast Guard by satellite phone on Thursday.
In addition to the child falling ill, the family reported
that their boat was taking on water whenever they tried to start
the vessel's engine, Dixon said.
A four-man team from the California Air National Guard's
129th Rescue Wing was dispatched by military plane to the scene,
about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) out in the Pacific off Mexico, to
render immediate medical assistance.
The rescue team parachuted into the ocean, reached the
sailboat in a motorized inflatable dinghy 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 Navy frigate, the USS Vandegrift, which had been
conducting routine operations off the Southern California coast,
arrived on Sunday to take all four Kaufmans aboard for a return
The sailboat, christened the Rebel Heart, was scuttled by
the Navy as a navigation hazard, in concurrence with the family
that the boat was not seaworthy enough to tow back to port,
The family resides in San Diego, which is also the
Vandegrift's home port, said Lieutenant Lenaya Rotklein, a
spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy Third Fleet.
The Kaufmans have defended their decision to take their
young children out to sea on such a trip.
"We understand there are those who question our decision to
sail with our family, but please know this is how our family has
lived for seven years," they said in a statement on Sunday. "We
... remain confident that we prepared as well as any sailing
Still, in a blog post one week into their journey, Charlotte
Kaufman said of their voyage, "This may be the stupidest thing
we have ever done."
Navy and Coast Guard officials declined to comment when
asked whether the Kaufmans had shown poor judgment in embarking
on round-the-globe sailing voyage with an infant and toddler.
(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Ken