SAN DIEGO - The California parents of a 1-year-old girl who fell ill on a sailing trip around the world thanked military crews who rescued them from their stalled vessel on Sunday and defended their decision to sail with young children.
Eric and Charlotte Kaufman said their daughter Lyra's medical condition continued to improve after they boarded a San Diego-bound Navy ship hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast so the girl could get to a medical facility.
"We prepared as well as any sailing crew could," the San Diego couple said in a statement from aboard the USS Vandegrift.
The Kaufmans, Lyra and her 3-year-old sister, Cora, started across the Pacific in March when the baby girl developed a fever and a rash covering most of her body and wasn't responding to medications. After their 36-foot sailboat lost steering and communication abilities about 900 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, they sent a satellite call for help to the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday.
Four California Air National Guard members reached the boat Thursday night. They stabilized the girl, then boarded the Vandegrift with the family Sunday.