TODAY   |  September 02, 2014

Dramatic rescue of sick baby stranded on high seas

A high-stakes rescue effort played out on the open seas off the coast of Mexico. A family with two small children had set out from San Diego for the South Pacific, but ran into trouble with their 1-year-old daughter became gravely ill. TODAY’s Jenna Wolfe reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> the little sick girl went under on thursday. that's when her family put out the distress call that she wasn't feeling well and the military started mobilizing. a high-stakes rescue effort playing out through the night on the open seas, a family with two small children stranded 1,000 miles off the coast of mexico. it was the kaufmans' dream to sail around the world aboard their 36-foot boat, "rebel heart." and last month, eric, charlotte, 3-year-old cora and 1-year-old lyra set out from san diego headed for the south pacific , documenting their adventure on social media . but this week, a double whammy. their boat was crippled in rough seas, and worse, little lyra became gravely ill. she had recently been treated for salmonella poisoning. an emergency call sent the san diego air national guard rescue team into action. they air-lifted a trained crew, refueled their chopper in midair, dropping them in the water near the "rebel heart."

>> this is what we train for. the rescue wing is specialized in this capability.

>> they're on board the kaufmans' boat, treating the 1-year-old and are on course to rendezvous with a navy ship later today. as of last word, lyra was holding her own.

>> she's stable, but she's still critically ill.

>> but if she had taken a turn for the worse, the rescuers were prepared to pluck her from the high seas and fly her back to safety. anxious family members are following every piece of information.

>> i mean, i can only imagine that at this point she's like, let's get back on land.

>> so, little lyra is stable at this hour. the navy is standing by if they are needed to give her more medical help. right now everyone is just working to get the family back to shore. guys?

>> glad help arrived.

>> yeah, absolutely.