“We are thankful to be safe and well,” said Eric and Charlotte Kaufman in a statement to the Air National Guardsmen rescue team, the ship's crew, the Navy and the Coast Guard who rescued them and their two daughters, including ill 1-year-old daughter Lyra, from their distressed 36-foot sailboat Rebel Heart.
“Lyra is doing well now and her medical condition continues to improve,'' the Kaufmans said.
The rescue was initiated after the family spent about two weeks at sea on a planned trip around the world. The family had been moored in Point Loma for seven years.
The family’s trip was aborted because “the stricken child required treatment beyond the capabilities of those on board,” said 2nd Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina, spokesman for Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing.
“The child is getting medical care aboard the USS Vandegrift while the Navy vessel is heading back to San Diego,” Bersamina said. “The mission is not over until the 1-year-old is in the care of medical facilities onshore that can treat her.”
Military authorities said the Kaufmans’ craft had lost steering and some of its radios. The yacht took on water and sank.
Addressing those questioning their decision to sail with young children, the Kaufmans said they had prepared as well as any crew could when they had departed more than a year ago.
Eric Kaufman is an ex-Navy corpsman and a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed captain.
“The ocean is one of the greatest forces of nature, and it always has the potential to overcome those who live on or near it,'' the Kaufmans said.
“We are proud of our choices and our preparation, and while we are disappointed that we lost our sailboat and our home, we remain grateful for those who came to our aid and those family and friends who continue to encourage us and support us,'' they said.
A military spokesman said the frigate transporting the Kaufmans returned to North Island Naval Air Station on