A rescue mission was underway Friday to help a 1-year-old girl who fell seriously ill aboard her parents’ boat 900 miles from the Mexican coast, and family members in San Diego said this is exactly what they feared from this “crazy” trip.
Eric and Charlotte Kaufman of San Diego set sail aboard their 36-foot sailboat with their two daughters, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old.
But on Thursday, a rescue call went out when the youngest crewmember became sick with salmonella poisoning. To complicate things, their boat started having problems.
Thus began a complex rescue mission between the California Air National Guard and U.S. Navy to get antibiotics to the little girl.
Concerned family members in San Diego are waiting by the phone for updates on what’s going to happen to their 1-year-old niece.
"I saw this coming. I saw the potential for every bit of it,” said Charlotte’s brother James Moriset. “I'm just glad they're alive and my little niece is being taken care of, which is cool.”
The Kaufmans were two weeks into their around-the-world journey, and they were getting farther and farther away from land every day.
Had the girl fallen ill one week later, James’ wife April said this could be a different – and more tragic -- story.
James told NBC 7 he believes the whole trip was nuts from the beginning.
“I don’t understand what they were thinking to begin with. I’m sorry, I don’t even like to take my kids in a car ride that would be too dangerous, and it’s like taking them out into the big ocean? It’s like – I don’t know,” said James.
James could not even see his sister off because he thought the trip was “too crazy,” he said.
Both James and April are glad the family is OK, and they hope this will be the final event that convinces the Kaufmans to abandon their goal and come home.
“As a mom, I can only imagine that this is the absolute scariest fear, next to losing a child,” said April. “I can only imagine that [Charlotte] is like, ‘Let’s get back on land.’”
The Kaufmans’ boat “Rebel Heart” was returning to Mexico Friday evening, while the Navy’s USS Vandergrift raced toward them.
Assuming the little girl’s condition doesn’t take a turn for the worse, the family may be back in San Diego by Monday.