Navy rescues family with sick baby; family expected to return to San Diego Wednesday

The baby who became ill aboard her family’s sailboat about 925 miles off Cabo San Lucas was carried onto a Navy frigate early today, and the baby and warship are likely arrive in their homeport of San Diego sometime Wednesday.

Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena said today that the family was tentatively expected to arrive in San Diego sometime Wednesday. But he said it was not yet known if the civilian patient would come ashore after the USS Vandegrift docks, or whether she and her family would be airlifted to shore first.

The rescue mission was initiated Thursday after the family had spent about two weeks at sea. Lyra Kaufman, 1, got an infection that required treatment beyond the capabilities of the others on board, which included parents Eric and Charlotte Kaufman and 3-year-old sister, Cora, according to 2nd Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina, spokesman for Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing, and broadcast reports.

The family’s 36-foot vessel, called Rebel Heart, had also lost its steering and radios.

A Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended she be seen by medical personnel within two days. An Air National Guardsmen rescue team, and Navy and U.S. Coast Guard personnel were summoned to rescue the stricken girl, according to Bersamina and the Coast Guard.

Thursday evening, a team of Air National Guard rescuers parachuted into the ocean to board the Rebel Heart. They remained with the family until the San Diego-based USS Vandegrift arrived about 1 a.m. and brought the girl, her

family and the rescue team aboard the warship about 8 a.m.

Coast Guard officials said the girl and her family had stable life signs. Sailors aboard the USS Vandegrift will medically evaluate the family and the frigate will head to San Diego.

U-T San Diego reported that the yacht was at first pointed towards Mexico on auto-steering and wind power, but after it began to take on water, it was sunk.

8 Responses to "Navy rescues family with sick baby; family expected to return to San Diego Wednesday"

  1. FR86   April 7, 2014 at 10:40 am

    Does anyone out there think that these people were just plain dumb to take a 1 year old and a 3 year old on a sailing trip around the world? I’d call it child endangerment as well as being just plain careless. Then there’s the issue of endangering the service men that had to risk their lives from the ANG as well as the cost associated with getting the child to the hospital.

    At a minimum they need to pay for the cost and possibly be prosecuted for endangering the lives of their children.

  2. DR DR   April 7, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    This story leaves me in complete disbelief!! There are stupid, and there are insane…this is beyond either. Couldn’t parents, sisters, brothers, friends talk them out of such an asinine idea? They can be thankful for Navy and US Coast Guard, without steering and radios, they could have been lost at sea indefinitely…and DOA.

  3. grunt   April 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    If, that is of course a big IF, these people were experienced sailors, I see no problem with them taking kids aboard. (I am a recreational sailor only (ugh, hard for an old Marine to claim that LOL) and I would NOT take kids that young; but i have taken kids camping in the wilderness- a place I am fully capable and comfortable. I think they assumed no more danger than some people I see with kids in the car on the phone, texting, or otherwise being less than smart.

  4. FR86   April 8, 2014 at 8:27 am


    I see your point but in this situation it wasn’t texting or a recreational sailing situation a mile or 2 of the coast of San Diego……………These "parents", and I use the term loosely, were 900 miles of the coast of Baja and consciously chose to put their children at risk by undertaking a cruise around the world like it would have been lazy sail to Catalina whre nothing goes wrong.They not only put their children in danger but they forced 4 members of the Cal ANG to risk their lives because of their carelessness and stupidity. Then there is the cost of the rescue and transport of the child to the hospital and the rescue of the parents by the US Navy for which you and I paid. Lets see, 1 C-130 burns about $1000/ hr of AV Fuel then there’s the fuel oil for the destroyer that had to change its course, then there’s the cost of the crews. I’ve heard their justification that they’ve lived this life-style for 7 years, OK, BUT THAT WAS BEFORE THEY WERE PARENTS,which is a game changer.

    If the parents want to sail around the world leave the kids with a responsible party, because they clearly aren’t.


  5. Pink   April 8, 2014 at 8:59 am

    As a mother and a grandmother I’m afraid I have to agree with FR86 on this one. What they did was not very bright. Where were the grandparents when they made this decision??

  6. grunt   April 8, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I may have to rethink this, is Pink disagrees.
    See, some of you – a calm, rational statement forces normal people to consider your argument. Had I been insulted, attacked I would of course dig in and defend. Thank you both, FR86 and Pink for the rational rebuttal to my statement.

  7. FR86   April 8, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Your perspective on most items is rational and well stated. I may disagree with you occasionally but that’s what makes a horse race. Your op/eds aren’t intended to insult,raise blood pressure or incite arguments like other people on this forum (who shall go nameless) and who aren’t worth the time to engage in a response.

    These people are like the fool that goes around a sign that says "flooded", gets stuck and then waits for a fireman to rescue them. In nature, natural selection eliminates less desirable genetic combinations but not at the expense of 1 and 3 year old children as in this case.

    Semper Fi


  8. Ray (the real one)   April 9, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Child and family services should be waiting at the dock to take custody of the children for abuse.


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