National Guard Parachutes to Rescue Tot on Sailboat in Pacific

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Air National Guard members dramatically parachuted onto a sailboat stranded in the Pacific Ocean overnight, stabilized a "seriously ill" 1-year-old girl and were trying to figure out how to get the boat back to shore, the service said Friday.

Members of the 129th Rescue Wing flew five hours Thursday from Moffett Federal Airfield, Calif., near San Jose, to the sailboat about 900 miles off the coast of Mexico on what the California National Guard called a "complex overwater rescue mission."

A parachute rescue team of four jumped into the ocean Thursday night, inflated a raft and boarded the 36-foot-long Rebel Heart, which is carrying Eric and Charlotte Kaufman of San Diego and their daughters, Cora, 3, and Lyra, 1, on the latest leg of what they'd planned to be a round-the-world voyage.

Lyra — who was reported to be suffering from salmonella poisoning — was determined to be stable.

A Navy ship was on its way and would meet the sailboat perhaps late Saturday, said 2nd Lt. Roderick B. Bersamina, a spokesman for the California Air National Guard. The family would be taken on board and when the ship is within range, helicopters from Cabo San Lucas in Mexico would fly to the ship and take them back.

The family has been chronicling its journey on a blog. It's not clear what would happen to the sailboat.

— M. Alex Johnson