A maritime rescue to save a sick baby cost taxpayers roughly $663,000, according to a tally by the U-T San Diego.
The extensive mission to rescue 1-year-old Lyra Kaufman – along with her parents Eric and Charlotte and 3-year-old sister Cora – ended Wednesday when the family was dropped off safely in San Diego.
The U-T compiled figures from the U.S. Navy and California Air National Guard, which both lent resources to the rescue.
The newspaper reports that the National Guard spent around $447,000, and the Navy shelled out at least $216,000.
Military officials told the U-T that the sailing and flying times were already budgeted for training.
Earlier this week, the Coast Guard – which helped facilitate the operation – said the Kaufmans most likely won’t have to reimburse the agencies.
The policy has frustrated some taxpayers, who say the parents made a bad decision by bringing their young children on board a 36-foot sailboat for an around-the-world trip.
But Thursday, Eric took to the family’s blog to defend their choices. He said there have been many “inaccuracies” reported about Lyra’s health, their boat’s condition and their overall situation, though he did not specify what those inaccuracies were.
On April 2, four pararescumen with the National Guard’s 129th Rescue Wing parachuted into the ocean and climbed aboard the Kaufman’s boat 900 nautical miles off the coast of Mexico.
By Sunday morning, sailors aboard the Navy’s USS Vandegrift rescued the family and brought them back to San Diego four days later.
A National Guard commander said the family did everything right by sending out a distress call once they realized how sick Lyra was, and he reported his crews “got there just in time.”
The child is now being treated by her family physician, Navy officials said.