Kathleen Kennedy Townsend’s 41-year-old daughter and 8-year-old grandson were presumed dead Friday after they disappeared while boating the day before in Maryland, according to a statement from the family.
Maeve Fahey Kennedy Townsend, 41, and her son, 8-year-old Gideon were believed to have died as searchers suspended efforts after more than a day of scouring the Chesapeake Bay, Kennedy Townsend’s husband, David McKean, said in a statement posted to Facebook on Friday night.
“Despite heroic efforts by the Coast Guard and many state and local authorities, the decision has now been made to suspend the active rescue effort,” McKean said. “The search that began yesterday afternoon went on throughout the night and continued all day today. It is now dark again. It has been more than 24 hours, and the chances they have survived are impossibly small. It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away.”
Governor Larry Hogan said in a briefing earlier Friday that the mother and son , “went missing after canoeing yesterday afternoon on the South River here” in Anne Arundel County.
“An intensive search has been underway since late yesterday,” Hogan said, adding that search personnel has included teams from the state Natural Resources Police, State Police, US Coast Guard, and Anne Arundel County Fire Department.
Hogan said he spoke Friday morning with Kennedy Townsend, the former Maryland lieutenant governor and daughter of Robert F. Kennedy.
“On behalf of the people of Maryland, I express our most heartfelt sympathies, and our prayers to her and her entire family during this difficult time,” Hogan said.
Earlier Friday, Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Edward Wargo said around 1:40 p.m. that the search was ongoing involving multiple Coast Guard assets — including a C-130 aircraft and a cutter — along with multiple federal, state and local police agencies.
At the time the canoeists were last seen, waves were about 2 to 3 feet in height and winds were gusting up to 26 knots, or nearly 30 miles an hour. He said there were reports, which the Coast Guard had not yet confirmed, that an empty canoe was recovered Friday.
“It was not ideal weather for canoeing,” Wargo said.