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USS Vandergrift contacted the sailboat around 4 p.m. Saturday 900 miles from land

A family stranded in the middle of the ocean has boarded a Navy frigate tasked with saving them and a sick baby. NBC 7′s Diana Guevara has the latest updates.

Watch Report: Watching Diana7a0406

A San Diego family and their seriously ill baby, who were stuck on a sailboat  hundreds of miles off the Mexico coast, have boarded a Navy rescue ship Sunday morning, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

USS Vandegrift arrived near the sailboat at 1 a.m. and waited until first light to rescue the family.

Around 8 a.m., sailors used an inflatable boat to bring the infant, family and four California Air National Guard pararescumen aboard the Vandergrift.

Two weeks ago, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman, along with their 1-year-old and 3-year-old daughters, set sail on an around-the-world journey.

But Thursday, they set out a satellite distress call, saying the youngest girl had become violently sick. On top of that, their boat had lost its steering and communication abilities.

In a large coordinated effort, the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing worked with the Navy to send four pararescuemen, who jumped from a plane into the ocean and climbed aboard the Rebel Heart to treat the girl.

By Saturday, they said the baby’s condition had stabilized while they waited for further transportation from the Vandergrift.

According to a Facebook post from Charlotte’s sister, Sariah English, the Navy frigate made contact with the family just after 4 p.m. Saturday.

USS Vandergrift stayed about five miles from the boat through Saturday night as its crew planned how to get the family off the boat.

“The bottom line is the safety and security of not only the family members that are on board, but also of all the personnel that are involved to save the infant. That is paramount,” said 2nd Lt. Roderick Bersamina with the 129th Rescue Wing.

The family reportedly was given one trip to get their things off the boat – as much as they can carry — before they left it behind in the ocean.

They did not sink the Rebel Heart; instead, they tagged it and let it float along.

The Kaufmans should return to San Diego on Monday, English said. They requested to stay at a Navy base hotel and then travel to New Mexico, where English lives.

Because the family will have to abandon most of their possessions, English is working with friends in San Diego to collect donations to give the Kaufmans when they arrive.

It’s unclear what caused the baby to fall ill. English told NBC 7 that she had diarrhea, fevers, and a large rash and had been vomiting.

In a post on her blog, Charlotte had said on March 11 that both she and her 1-year-old daughter had tested positive for salmonella.

Officials have not announced where they are taking the baby to be treated.


In this file picture taken on April 11, 2009, U.S. merchant ship the Maersk Alabama prepares to berth in the Kenyan coastal city port of Mombasa.  ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A police report about the deaths of two former Navy SEALs on board the Maersk Alabama while the ship was docked this week notes that drugs and paraphernalia were found in the cabin where the men’s bodies were discovered, the shipping line said in a statement Thursday.

The former SEALs were working as security officers aboard the ship that was the focus of a 2009 hijacking dramatized in the movie “Captain Phillips.” They were found dead on Tuesday while the ship was berthed in Port Victoria in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles.

Seychelles police have given no cause of death for Michael Daniel Kennedy, 43, and Jeffrey Keith Reynolds, 44. The men worked for a Virginia Beach, Va.-based maritime security firm, The Trident Group.

“We are working with the Trident Group to ensure the security personnel on Maersk Line, Limited vessels adhere to Maersk’s zero tolerance policy on the use of drugs and alcohol,” said the statement from Kevin N. Speers, a spokesman for the Norfolk, Va.-based Maersk Line Ltd.

The statement said that based on Maersk’s experience with the contractor, it believed that the deaths were an isolated incident.

But, it said it would confirm that all drug tests, background checks and training requirements were current, retest security personnel for drug use where necessary, audit its hiring, training and performance evaluation practices and re-evaluate shore-leave policy.

“The Trident Group will also immediately implement a random drug testing program to increase the frequency at which it screens security personnel,” the statement said.

The Maersk Alabama left the Seychelles after authorities completed an on-board investigation into the men’s deaths.

On Thursday, Seychelles police spokesman Jean Toussaint noted that officials were awaiting the results of autopsies and said, “As far as I know there is no evidence of physical trauma” on either man’s body.

He also said he was not aware that the Maersk Alabama had been cleared to leave and could not comment on that report. Speers said Thursday that the ship had left port.

The U.S. Coast Guard has said it also is investigating the deaths.

The Maersk Alabama is a Norfolk, Va.-based container ship that provides feeder service to the east coast of Africa and employs security contractors to provide anti-piracy services.

In a statement posted on its website, The Trident Group President Thomas Rothrauff said there “is no immediate indication as to the cause of death, but the deaths were not caused by operational activity.” Rothrauff wrote that the next of kin have asked that no further information be released and that their privacy be respected.

The Trident Group was founded by former Navy SEALs and hires former special warfare operators to perform security. On Thursday, the Navy confirmed that Kennedy and Reynolds belonged to the SEALs, an elite unit of the military’s special operations forces who are sometimes called upon to combat piracy.

In 2009, pirates hijacked the Maersk Alabama in waters off Somalia. Most of the crew members locked themselves in the engine room, but the pirates took Capt. Richard Phillips hostage. A five-day standoff ended when Navy SEALs aboard the USS Bainbridge shot and killed three pirates who were holding Phillips in a lifeboat. The “Captain Phillips” movie starring Tom Hanks as Phillips was released last year.

Kennedy, whose home of record with the Navy was Baton Rouge, La., enlisted in 1995 and completed his final tour of duty in 2008, according to a summary of his record provided by the Navy. Kennedy was assigned to an East Coast-based special warfare unit, according to the record. Virginia Beach serves as the home of the Navy’s East Coast SEAL teams. He had medals for serving in campaigns in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Reynolds, whose home of record with the Navy was Fountain Valley, Calif., enlisted in 1990. He was assigned to a West Coast-based special warfare unit until he was discharged in 2000. He had won two medals for good conduct while in the Navy.

Former military personnel frequently provide security on board ships sailing through the waters off Somalia to provide security against pirate attacks. Kennedy and Reynolds boarded the ship Jan. 29, Speers said.

The Alabama transports food aid to East Africa in support of the U.S. government’s “Food for Peace” program, according to Maersk Line. Crew members also help support the Bee Hive Children’s Home in Mombasa, Kenya.

Several crew members who were aboard the ship when it was hijacked in 2009 are suing Maersk Line and Mobile, Ala.-based Waterman Steamship Corp.

Nine crew members in the lawsuit, filed in Alabama in 2012, say they suffered physical and emotional injuries after Somali pirates boarded.


Man went missing Thursday off Cape Ann

BOSTON —The U.S. Coast Guard in Boston says it has suspended its search for a missing fisherman who went overboard about 32 miles southeast of Cape Ann.

The Coast Guard received a report Thursday afternoon that a 47-year-old crew member of the fishing vessel Lydia & Maya had gone overboard and the crew was unable to find him.

Barbara Foster of South Portland, Maine, told the Portland Press Herald that the fisherman was her son, Martin Gorham, of Westbrook, Maine.

The Coast Guard used several boats and helicopters to search 290 square miles around the area where he reportedly went overboard. He was not wearing a life jacket.

The Coast Guard suspended the search Friday morning.


Coast Guard investigates Piscataqua River sinking


Read more: http://www.wmur.com/news/nh-news/barge-strikes-object-in-piscataqua-river-sinks/-/9857858/23014890/-/u1yo9m/-/index.html#ixzz2kvGOBsVv


Later, the agency says it can neither confirm nor deny the connection and says it has signed a non-disclosure agreement.

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Read the story here – http://www.pressherald.com/news/Coast_Guard_confirms_Google_involvement_in_mystery_barges_.html