A family that had to be saved by the U.S. Navy after becoming marooned in the Pacific Ocean with their year-old sick daughter and their other young child while attempting to sail around the world in a 36-foot boat returned home to San Diego aboard a warship Wednesday.
Around noon, Eric Kaufman took to Twitter to thank the warship’s crew in response to a question sent to him by NBC’s Bridget Naso:
“… the men and women of the VANDEGRIFT are heroes, and words can’t express my appreciation for the 129. The best of the best.”
The USS Vandegrift, a guided-missile frigate, arrived in the late morning at Naval Air Station North Island, where the rescued group debarked, according to Petty Officer Jesse Gonzalez, a spokesman for the U.S. Third Fleet.
The parents and children were said to be in stable condition, according to the Coast Guard.
Navy personnel pulled Charlotte and Eric Kaufman and their baby, Lyra, from their stricken vessel on Sunday about 925 miles off Cabo San Lucas. The girl reportedly had developed a rash and was feverish, and the boat had lost its steering and some of its radio capability.
The family had been at sea for about two weeks when they became stranded. The rescue mission began Thursday because Lyra was not responding to antibiotics, officials said. The Kaufmans’ other daughter, 3-year-old Cora, also was aboard.
A Coast Guard flight surgeon recommended that the baby be seen by medical personnel within two days, and a four-man team from the Bay Area-based 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard parachuted into the ocean to board the drifting sailboat.
The Kaufmans asked to get off the ship during its previously planned stop in Coronado and planned to go from there to see their family physician, the Navy reported.
The Vandegrift was scheduled to return to Naval Base San Diego in Barrio Logan this afternoon.
–City News Service