PARENTS

Sick Baby Rescued From Parents' Yacht During Round-The-World Trip

06/01/2015 14:58 | Updated 20 May 2015

Sick baby rescued from parents' yacht during round-the-world trip

A one-year-old baby was dramatically rescued after she fell ill on her parents' yacht in the middle of the ocean.

Lyra Kaufman was with her parents and three-year-old sister on the boat hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast when she became sick with diarrhoea and vomiting.

Her mum and dad tried to reach land but the yacht lost its communications and steering system, forcing them to launch a distress signal to a satellite.

Rescuers raced to the 36-foot sailboat, owned by San Diego couple, Charlotte and Eric Kaufman and baby Lyra was stabilised before being taken aboard an American rescue ship to begin the long journey to San Diego to receive hospital treatment.

The Kaufmans were about 900 miles off Mexico on a cruise around the world when they fell into difficulties.

They were two weeks into a journey bound for the South Pacific islands and eventually New Zealand.

Before the family left, Lyra had salmonella poisoning, but doctors cleared her to travel after she was healthy again.

Charlotte's sister, Sariah Kay English, said she was told the vessel took on water every time the motor was turned on.

When her sister first mentioned plans to sail with two young children, Sariah recalled: "I thought it was nuts."

But she said the couple were always careful. Eric is a Coast Guard-licensed captain who introduced sailing to Charlotte during one of their early dates.

Sariah said: "They were not going into this blind. I knew they were doing this wisely."

She added: "Unfortunately, sickness sometimes happens."

From the start, the Kaufmanns' trip had been experiencing difficulties with choppy weather causing sea sickness, but Lyra's health soon took a turn for the worse.

When her parents called for help earlier this week, their daughter had developed a rash, was vomiting and had diarrhoea.

The family had antibiotics on board their well-stocked boat, but they were not working on Lyra.

Her condition has been stabilised, but it is thought that she had contracted salmonella, and is in need of hospital assistance, NBC 7 reported.

A spokesman for Moffett Federal Airfield in California, where the rescue is being coordinated, said: "The vessel's remote location as well as the infant's urgent need for medical care necessitated the rescue.

"The 129th pararescuemen who saved the child's life will remain with her until she reaches a medical facility capable of treating her conditions."

The dramatic rescue is far from what the couple, who are experienced sailors, had anticipated when they decided to embark on a trip to the islands of the South Pacific.

On their blog - The Rebel Heart - they wrote of excitedly waiting on March 20 for the right conditions before setting sail on the well-stocked boat.

With a toddler just learning to walk, and a curious three-year-old on board, the couple knew their voyage wouldn't all be plain sailing, but they could never have predicted that they would be calling for help so quickly.

In her early blog posts about the voyage Charlotte wrote about trying to keep a constant watch on their girls, as she coped with seasickness.

As well as needing space to keep their children entertained, the couple had filled the boat with supplies of cans, dried good, nappies and fresh food.

But despite choppy conditions, the family were relishing their adventure, singing and laughing in the cabin, and showering on deck as their boat glided through the Pacific.

On the second day of their voyage, Charlotte wrote: "It is simple things that excite a crew when out to sea ... like the turtle calmly paddling in the opposite direction as us."

But the exotic South Pacific islands must have seemed like a distant dream when their youngest daughter fell sick.

The romance of life at sea was replaced with a longing for modern appliances like washing machines that other families rely so heavily on.

In one blog post, Charlotte wrote: "I think this may be the stupidest thing we have ever done," as she described the difficulty of trying to hand wash dirty nappies.

• It's great to give our children amazing experiences, but is a yacht in the middle of the ocean the right place for a baby and toddler? Let us know what you think.

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