SAN DIEGO – Navy sailors say conditions during the rescue of a family with a 1-year-old, critically ill girl were so bad that even the para-jumpers who dropped into the sea to help grew seasick as 5- to 8-foot waves crashed into the boat.
After a Navy warship delivered the Kaufman family safely to San Diego on Wednesday, the sailors described rough seas and poor visibility that prolonged the rescue for hours on Sunday.
They also said the family’s broken sailboat was down to about a dozen gallons of fuel and kept taking on water because of the crashing waves.
Charlotte and Eric Kaufman sent out a satellite phone ping last Thursday from 900 miles off the Mexican coast when their sailboat broke down and their baby girl Lyra had salmonella-like symptoms. Her 3-year-old sister was also on the boat.
Four California Air National Guard members parachuted to the sailboat Thursday to provide medical aid.