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Parents Defend Sailing With Children After Toddler Rescued By Bay Area Team

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CBS SF Bay (con't)

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SAN DIEGO (CBS/AP/BCN) — U.S. sailors rescued a family with an ill 1-year-old baby from a disabled sailboat hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast and were headed Sunday to San Diego to get the girl medical treatment.

The girl, along with her parents and 3-year-old sister, were helped onto an inflatable raft and then taken aboard the USS Vandegrift at 8 a.m. Sunday. The baby girl was in stable condition and was heading to San Diego for medical treatment, the Coast Guard said in a news release.

Charlotte and Eric Kaufman were two weeks into their trip to sail the world when their daughter, Lyra, developed a fever and a rash covering most of her body and wasn’t responding to medications. Then, their 36-foot sailboat lost steering and communication abilities about 900 miles off Mexico. They sent a satellite call for help to the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday.

The Coast Guard called the California Air National Guard, which sent a team from Moffett Federal Air Field located between Mountain View and Sunnyvale.

The Bay Area-based team of four pararescuemen parachuted into the open ocean around 8 p.m. Thursday and reached the sailboat, where they provided medical aid to the infant and helped turn the disabled boat around, according to Air National Guard officials.

The rescuers stayed aboard the Rebel Heart to keep watch on the ill child until daylight when sailors helped them board the Navy frigate.

Before the family left, Lyra had salmonella poisoning, but doctors cleared her to travel after she was healthy again, said Charlotte Kaufman’s sister, Sariah Kay English.

English initially was in daily email contact with the family but realized something was wrong when the communication stopped several days ago.

English said she was told the vessel took on water every time the motor was turned on. It’s now slowly moving using only the sails.

When her sister first mentioned plans to sail with two young children, English recalled, “I thought it was nuts.”

But English said the couple was always careful. Eric Kaufman is a Coast Guard-licensed captain who introduced sailing to Charlotte Kaufman during one of their early dates.

“They were not going into this blind. I knew they were doing this wisely,” English said.

English said the couple made a network of friends who traveled around the globe with children and always stocked the sailboat with more food than they need.

“They were very overcautious. They’re not new at sailing,” English said. Unfortunately, “sickness sometimes happens.”

The couple are defended their decision to sail with the children Sunday.

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman said Sunday they remain confident they were prepared for the journey and were proud of their choices.

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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