Rescued family recovering after scary days at sea - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Rescued family recovering after scary days at sea

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – A San Diego family is recovering after their one-year-old daughter fell ill at sea, prompting a rescue by the Air National Guard and Navy.

CBS News 8 got exclusive video of the Kaufman family leaving their doctor's office Wednesday, just hours after arriving in San Diego.

"We're doing good," Eric Kaufman said.

One-year-old Lyra was looking much better than when rescuers first saw her on a boat in the middle of nowhere last week.

"She was pretty lethargic and out of it. She was going down the 'sickness spiral,' I like to call it. Wasn't quite on deaths door yet. In a couple more days she would have been, so I'm glad the father pulled the trigger for rescue when he did," U.S. Coast Guard paramedic Clay said.

READ RELATED: Rough seas prolonged rescue of family, sick baby

Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, Lyra, and their three-year-old daughter Cora were in the process of sailing from Mexico to New Zealand when the trouble started. Not only was Lyra really sick and not responding to medicine, but their 36-foot sailboat the "Rebel Heart" was dead in the water. At the time, the family was about 900 miles off Cabo San Lucas

Pararescuers from the California National Guard jumped into action with lifesaving supplies, including an inflatable boat that transferred the Kaufmans to the San Diego-based USS Vandegrift, which gave them a safe ride home.

On Thursday, Eric Kaufman posted the following statement on

"First, we would like to express our profound gratitude for the 129th Rescue Wing of the California Air National Guard. These people are true heroes, along with Commander Alva and the crew of the USS Vandegrift. We will remember them forever.
We have been happy with the maritime life we have been able to share with our daughters. Even as we write this, several other boats are crossing the same stretch of water that Rebel Heart was on, with families who seek to show their children the world. Children have been sailing on boats for a long time, and the modern cruising family dates back several decades.
To our supporters and those who also seek an adventurous path with their families, we thank you for your kind words and support. From professional rescuers, professional sailors, and other families at sea we have been buoyed by your warmth and kindness. For those who are more critical, we ask that you kindly await all the details. There have been many inaccuracies reported through various media related to our daughter's health, the vessels' condition, and our overall maritime situation.
While we are thankful for the unsolicited generosity we have received and been offered, we encourage you to consider donating to That Others May Live (, which provides relief to the families of members of the United States Air Force Rescue community when tragedy strikes."

We're also hearing from the pararescuers who risked their lives to save them and spent several days with the family while waiting for the Vandegrift to arrive.

"They were really appreciative. They were surprised America would spend the effort and the time and the dollars and possible lives to go and help them out. They were blown away," one rescuer said.

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