Sick infant rescued at sea headed home

Kaufman family
Kaufman family

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KFMB/CNN) — US military crews are working fast to rescue a sick child on a family’s sailboat hundreds of miles out at sea.

Finally, Sariah English was able to hear her sister, Charlotte Kaufman’s voice and reassurance. Baby Lyra is doing better.

“It’s been very overwhelming. This was not what we expected when they planned to sail around the world,” English said.

Charlotte and her husband Eric, their daughters, one-year-old Lyra, and three-year-old Cora, set sail from Mexico two weeks ago aboard their sailboat, the Rebel Heart.

They were planning to cross the Pacific to New Zealand.

They’ve been documenting their sailing adventures through their a blog and these YouTube videos.

But Thursday, hundreds of miles off the coast, they sent out a distress call to the Coast Guard.

Lyra had gotten very sick.

She had an infection and a severe rash.

They’d also run into mechanical problems with their boat.

The boat had also lost radio and its ability to move; it was dead in the water.

A team from the 129th Air Rescue Wing left Moffet Federal Airfield, and parachuted in.

“It’s a very empty part of the ocean that they were in that made this difficult,” Maj. Brian Finnerty, 129th Rescue Wing, California Air National Guard said.

Once on-board, the they managed to stabilize Lyra. They haven’t left her side.

“She is responding to medication. She is — the rash is going away and she’s becoming the happy little one-year-old she is. It’s wonderful news,” Maj. Finnerty said.

The Navy, assisting in this rescue operation, deployed the USS Vandegrift to meet up with the Kaufmans today.

The family is expected to be back in San Diego very soon.

Kaufman’s sister flying in from out of state, will be waiting.

“I’m just anxious to be with my sister and her kids,” English said.

San Diego TV station KFMB reports the girl is expected to make a full recovery.

A relative says the family had to abandon the crippled sailboat, but they hope to find and retrieve it in the future.

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