Family rescued at sea sues cell phone company

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SAN DIEGO - Parents who fought to keep their baby alive at sea, now said they'll fight their satellite phone company no matter what it takes.

In April, Eric and Charlotte Kaufman's 1-year-old daughter became sick after they set off on a boat trip around the world.

The couple tried calling for help, but said their phone SIM card stopped working. They ended up sounding an alarm to the US Coast Guard.

Sister Of Family Rescued At Sea Responds To Critics

U.S. Coast Guard and Navy rescue stranded family.

Rescuers parachuted down and stayed on the family's boat until a Navy ship took them back to land.

The couple's daughter survived, but the couple and their lawyer Dan Gilleon said the satellite phone company, Whenever Communications, needs to be held accountable for what happened.

"We would have been able to solve this problem just being able to talk to our medical professional," said Eric Kaufman.

"This company, first came out and said 'we didn't do it - we would never do it.’ Then, they came out and said that ‘we did it, it was all the Kaufman's fault.’ And then they finally said, 'no actually it was some other company's fault.' They refuse to accept responsibility for this," said Gilleon.

Last week, a San Diego judge dismissed the couple's lawsuit. The judge said the contract Kaufman signed said he needed to file suit in Florida, the company's headquarters.

That's where the couple said they'll head next.

An attorney with Whenever Communications didn't address questions about the SIM card but released this statement:

"There is no case. There's nothing to talk about. It shouldn't have been filed to begin with."


Family thanks rescuers, asks critics to hold off

Family won’t be charged for rescue at sea


  • Glen

    This problem would have never existed if these irresponsible parents didn’t start their trip with a sick infant. Also, most “intelligent” cruisers have what’s called a single sideband radio on board which provides world wide communications aboard the boat. Put the blame where it belongs; stupid parents

    • Ron Kelley

      The baby was not sick when they set sail you twit! As far as the parents being irresponsible, they aren’t but I’ll bet you are guilty of it

      • lookin

        The mother and two children were both very sick just days before they departed per their blog. They may have been symptom free and on the mend, but again want to blame the doctor that gave them a clean bill of health to sail across an ocean with no crew just days later. They were completely unprepared no matter what they tell the media. Just days after both children were dehydrated they set sail anyway, with no medical preperation to hydrate themselves or their children if they should just days later relapse and become dehydrated. And again, Mommie, per her blog was a hot mess, seasick, and washing diapers in the food sink. While Daddy was failing to make repairs properly.
        Any ocean crossing requires 24 hour attention.
        How do you do that with a seasick Mom, who had to figure out how to protect her baby and toddler on the fly while being severly seasick?
        Oh and then the sex. We must not forget that Daddy bragged that he had sex after hiding cake and lying to the children, but dissappointed that they only did it once.
        These people are twisted. How do I know it? They told the tale.

  • Daniel M. Gilleon, the defendant in this case that shut off the Kaufmans’ SIM card at sea, wants this case litigated in Florida even though the Court initially said the case should stay here so the military witnesses would not be inconvenienced. (click here: However, at the insistence of, the court agreed to have the case moved to Florida anyway. For, its own desire to point blame at others for this gross negligence is more important than the convenience of the Navy personnel that saved the Kaufmans.

  • Fed Up

    Who takes a 1 year old on a round the world boat trip? But that aside, how do these morons even marginally justify blaming a cell phone company for ruining their grand adventure? What type of guarantee is there that your phone will work at all times, everywhere? Not to mention, you had other means of communicating. People like this are a blight on society.
    I hope the company counter-sues them for defamation and any other thing they can think of.

  • lookin

    I’ve watched this story from the start. I’ve read their blog during the drama. I’ve read their blog before the drama, and I’ve read their blog after. All these months I am still stunned at their lack of responsibility and complete denial that they lacked proper preperation. The boat was in trouble within a day or two. The Captain couldn’t properly fix problems. The First mate was seasick, washing dirty diapers in the food sink. Mom and kids were sick just days before leaving on an open ocean adventure, which they had zero experience with. Mom had to figure out how to secure the kids safely to sleep during hight surf. They maintain they are fully experienced, yet they themselves in their desire for attention wrote about these things. Then when they had to abandon ship, they are trying to blame others. This from a man that mocked the US and avoiding paying taxes, again on his blog. They have no respect for our country, or the landlord, who’s studio they trashed by building a platform bed and a closet to store stuff and their kids. I can only imagine the cost to repair their short term rental. I have never read about such selfish people in my life. They talk about living simply, but in just a few weeks back in the US had accumulated more crap and clothes and toys. Their boat was a hoarders nightmare of crap. And yet they continue to preach living with little. It’s all right there on their blog. I hope the studio apartment landlord had a hefty security deposit to fix all the holes in the wall, and repainting the damage.

    Everyone is to blame but them. And curiously, they went on this lifetime dream adventure while trashing the US lifestyle, and suddenly upon getting rescued at sea, Junior decides to get a vasectomy. Well was he planning on doing that in a third world country if they had safe passage across the wide ocean? Or was it that his youngest getting sick, cost him his dream and boat and he suddenly saw the light.

    These are two very egotistical entitled adults with two very sweet and loved kids. They were given a life lesson and failed.

  • Josh Board

    These are the two most foolish parents around. Even if the kids weren’t sick before the journey, a 1-year-old needs to be somewhere that might require doctor visits. Also, I love how on KOGO, they tried saying that it was about providing an adventure for their kids. First of all, a 1-year-old won’t remember the trip. Second, they’re too young for such an adventure. Even if they had the best yacht money could buy…it would be a stupid attempt. They did it for their own greedy reasons, and endangering the lives of children shouldn’t be acceptable. I think child protective services should get involved when parents have their children sky dive, mountain climb, or partake in dumb and dangerous adventures at sea like this.

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