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National Guard to Rescue San Diego Family at Sea With Sick Baby

After two weeks at sea, a San Diego family is in need of medical help for their infant daughter suffering from salmonella.


A complex rescue mission to help a sick baby on a boat off the coast of Mexico was well underway Saturday, as officials reported the little girl is "healing" after receiving medical attention from pararescuers.

The one-year-old girl, her 3-year-old sister and her parents from San Diego set sail two weeks ago for the latest leg of their trip around the world.

The family is sailing aboard a 36-foot boat named the "Rebel Heart," blogging and posting pictures online.

On Thursday, the Bay Area’s 129th Rescue Wing received a call from the U.S. National Guard about a “seriously ill” girl aboard the boat located about 900 nautical miles off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Two rescue helicopters took off Thursday to join the rescue mission.

After a five-hour flight, a team of four “Guardian Angel” pararescuemen jumped into the open ocean to board the Rebel Heart.

The California Air National Guard unit based out of Moffett Field reported that they had reached the family who were in "good spirits."

After checking the girl’s vitals, the crew determined the girl was in stable condition.

NBC 7 has learned the baby may suffer from some type of salmonella and has been given antibiotics.

To complicate things, rescuers have discovered the sailboat has no power and no capability of steering itself.

As of Saturday afternoon, the four pararescumen stayed on board to keep close tabs on the baby and give her medical care. The baby is healing, they said.

It's reportedly close, compact quarters on the boat, but all are making due, and the family is very thankful, officials said.

Organizers are now planning their next step, and they continue to be concerned with the baby's health risk.

According to the 129th Rescue Wing's Twitter page, San Diego-based Navy frigate USS Vandegrift is assisting in the rescue mission and is expected to reach The Rebel Heart by 10 p.m. Saturday.

The small patient will then be transferred to the Vandergrift at first light Sunday.

Two HH 60G Pave Hawks helicopters and a Combat Shadow refueling tanker are on standby near Cabo San Lucas, as are airmen at Moffett Federal Airfield.

The family’s latest leg around the world was to take them across the Pacific Ocean towards the South Pacific Islands and eventually New Zealand.

The girl's mother, Charlotte Kaufman, has chronicled her adventures of sailing across the world while pregnant and had them published in San Diego Magazine.

The couple keep travel blogs showing that they are "working our way around the world."

Eric Kaufman's blog states that he is in his mid 30s and a USCG-licensed captain, in addition to his day job for a financial services company.

He is also a scuba diver.

Charlotte said she is a former high school teacher and founder of an Etsy blog called Red Charlotte.

The 129th Rescue Wing will be live tweeting the rescue at @129RQW.

An MC-130P "Combat Shadow" aircraft leaves California National Guard 129th Rescue Wing at Moffett Field to help a San Diego family whose daughter is suffering from salmonella on a boat in the Pacific.

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