For the first time since returning to San Diego, a family who was rescued at sea has released a statement about the ordeal, noting that "many inaccuracies" have been reported.
On the Rebel Heart blog, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman thanked everyone involved in their harrowing rescue and their supporters. They also defended their decision to sail with two young children and had a message for their critics.
On April 3, members of the California Air National Guard 129th Rescue Wing parachuted into the ocean 900 nautical miles off the coast of Mexico. They received a distress call from the family's 36-foot sailboat that 1-year-old daughter Lyra was sick.
On Sunday, a specialized team of sailors reached the family and the pararescuemen and brought them aboard USS Vandegrift.
“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,” the family wrote on the blog.
The ordeal sparked national debate over the couple’s decision to sail around the world with their baby and toddler.
“We have been happy with the maritime life we have been able to share with our daughters,” they wrote. “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.”
In Thursday’s statement, the Kaufmans said the public does not know the full story.
“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.”
The family has not said when they plan to talk to the media.
Eric Kaufman released the statement through his Twitter account:
— Eric Kaufman (@CaptEricKaufman) April 10, 2014
The That Others May Live (TOML) Foundation supports the families of U.S. Air Force Pararescuers who are killed or several injured during missions.