U.S. Navy picks up one-year-old girl who became sick at sea
(CNN) — A 1-year-old girl who became seriously ill on a sailboat hundreds of miles off Mexico was on a U.S. Navy frigate Sunday and in stable condition, the U.S. Coast Guard said.
On Thursday morning the Coast Guard received a distress call about the girl, who was on the Rebel Heart — a Hans Christian 36 — with her parents and sister about 900 miles from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
The sailboat did not have steering or communication abilities.
Members of an Air National Guard unit operating out of Moffett Federal Airfield in the San Francisco Bay Area were dispatched, according to a spokesman. Four members of the 129th Rescue Wing parachuted into the ocean, inflated a motorized boat and reached the 36-foot sailboat, said 2nd Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina.
The crew of the USS Vandegrift picked up the family and the four rescuers.
“Flight doctor says baby is stable after transfer; aircraft & air crews in Cabo are prepared,alert & evaluating all options,” the 129th Rescue Wing wrote on its Twitter page Sunday.
Officials said they can’t give details about the illness, but said “the family is in good spirits.”
The family will stay aboard the Vandegrift as it sails back to San Diego.
They are expected to arrive either Wednesday or Thursday, according to 129th Rescue Wing Group Commander Col. Hernando Polo.
Maj. Mark Bomann said the baby is stable.
“We’ve been quite pleased with her status. The family is exhausted, as one can imagine, but they’re out of any imminent danger or harm, which is what you’d worry about in a boat that may have problems,” he told reporters.
According to their blogs, Eric Kaufman and his wife, Charlotte, had plans to cross the Pacific and left Mexico some two weeks ago with their daughters Cora, 3, and 1-year-old Lyra. The family lives in San Diego.
They left there in 2012 and were slowly making their way around the world. In one of her earlier blog posts, dated October 2012, Charlotte addressed those who might question the wisdom of such an adventure. She wrote that the family was traveling with a satellite phone.
“Please remember, again, that we are competent adults who care about ourselves and our family. We’ve done a lot of research and preparation for this trip and would never purposefully put ourselves in harm’s way.
“Also remember that it is far, far more dangerous to drive every day on the freeway than it is to sail from San Diego to Mexico, or even around the world,” Charlotte said.