A woman whose sick infant was the subject of a daring ocean rescue dismissed criticism about the family's plan to sail the seas with young children as commentary from “internet armchair quarterbacks who know nothing about us.”
The military rescue operation that plucked 13-month-old Lyra Kaufman and her family from the middle of the Pacific Ocean prompted a national debate over sailing with babies and caused more than its fair share of negative reaction on social media.
Comments on NBC 7’s Facebook page included phrases like “very selfish” and “irresponsible parents” alongside words of support.
Lyra’s mother, Charlotte, wrote a post Sunday addressing the more explicit criticism posted to the couple’s blog.
“We will slowly delete all the comments from the internet armchair quarterbacks who know nothing about us, our life, our skills, or, I might add, sailing,” she wrote.
The Kaufman's have chronicled their life aboard the Rebel Heart through their personal blogs including the days leading up to the rescue launched by the California National Guard.
Four pararescuemen jumped into the ocean on April 3 to help the family who had sent a distress call from their vessel approximately 900 miles off the coast of Mexico.
Eric and Charlotte Kaufman and their two daughters - ages 3 and 13 months - had been sailing for two weeks on a voyage to Tahiti when the baby began to suffer what officials described as diarrhea, vomiting and a rash.
The parents radioed for help on April 3 and that began a chain of events that ended with the Kaufman's return to San Diego aboard USS Vandegrift on April 9.
Of the pararescumen who shared their cramped quarters and limited menu, Charlotte Kaufman writes that she was overwhelmed by their bravery.
"They physically held our children during the rough seas to keep them safe," she penned.
"And when the time came to leave Rebel Heart, they carried my daughters on their bodies."
She goes on to thank the crew of San Diego-based USS Vandegrift, noting how the ship was about to return home when they made the unexpected detour to help in the rescue.
"From the moment that we tumbled onto the solid deck of their ship, drenched in seawater, so full of adrenaline that we needed to vomit, and completely unable to walk on our shaking legs, the crew welcomed us," she explained.
She also thanks those who donated to the fund to replace the family's belongings that had to be abandoned on the Rebel Heart. The Navy sank the vessel before leaving it.
Kaufman reminisces about all the life events that occurred for her and Eric aboard the boat saying, “It is a lot to process.”
And finally, Charlotte addresses the interview her brother, James Moriset, gave to NBC 7 and other media outlets in which he criticized the couple's decision to sail with their children at such a young age.
Charlotte describes a family rift between siblings that she claims stems from allegations of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member.
"Their words show more about the content of their character than I could ever personally express to you," she wrote.
You can read Charlotte Kaufman's entire blog post here.