Sick Baby Rescued at Sea: Who Pays for the Mission?
BY ERIN MCCLAM
The rescue at sea was one of the most complex in recent memory: Four members of the National Guard, backed by a Navy warship and 177 sailors, parachuted into the Pacific Ocean to pluck out a couple and their two daughters, one of them a seriously ill 1-year-old.
Even one of the couple’s relatives questioned the wisdom of the trip — an attempt to go around the world in a 36-foot sailboat — and the couple themselves are on the defensive.
But it seems unlikely that the pair, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman of San Diego, will be asked to pay for the rescue. By international convention, rescue on the seas is not charged for, said Dean Ross, deputy emergency chief for the National Park Service.
“We’re out there to save lives. You can’t put a price on that,” said 2nd Lt. Roderick Bersamina of the California Air National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing, which sent the four rescuers by parachute.
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