Sick Infant On Sailboat Draws Rescuers To Sea

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SAN DIEGO-- SAN DIEGO -- A U.S. Navy warship is heading toward a crippled sailboat hundreds of miles off the Mexico coast to rescue a 1-year-old child who fell ill.

Traveling at 25 knots, the USS Vandegrift was expected to reach the Rebel Heart later Saturday.

The San Diego family aboard the 36-foot sailboat was on a trip around the world when one of them made a satellite call for help Thursday about 900 miles southwest of Cabo San Lucas. website and related blogs indicated that the boat set sail March 20 from Mexico with Charlotte and Eric Kaufman of San Diego. Also aboard were their daughters, 1-year-old Lyra and 3-year-old Cora, according to the blogs.

April Moriset, Charlotte's sister, told CBS San Francisco station KPIX-TV that Lyra broke out with a severe rash and got an infection. Their sailboat also lost power.

The California Air National Guard sent an aircraft with four pararescuemen from Moffett Federal Airfield near San Francisco, and they plunged into the water and reached the ship Thursday night, said 2nd Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina, spokesman for the Air National Guard's 129th Rescue Wing.

When they arrived, Rebel Heart was "for all intents and purposes dead in the water and drifting south" away from land, Bersamina said.

The rescuers were able to stabilize the girl, get the boat turned around and it was moving "slowly but surely back to shore," Bersamina said.

"Everyone on board is doing well, in good spirits," he said.

Rescuers were staying aboard the boat until the Vandegrift reached the sailboat, and helicopters were standby in case they were needed, Bersamina said.

The family will be taken either to Cabo San Lucas or to San Diego, depending on the medical condition of the girl, Bersamina said.

Posted by: Lindsay Sax