July 13, 2024
Annapolis, US 88 F

Coast Guard calls off search mother and son canoeists

The US Coast Guard has called off a search and rescue operation undertaken on Thursday afternoon to locate two missing canoeists in the Chesapeake Bay. The Washington Post first reported that the two were the daughter and grandson of former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

The pair, identified as Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean and her 8-year old son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean, took to a canoe to retrieve a ball that has gone into the Chesapeake Bay while visiting the former Lt. Governor at her Shady Side home. Initial reports from the Anne Arundel County Fire Department said that a kayak had been recovered, we now know that to have been a canoe.

The Coast Guard suspended the search Friday evening.

Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Cutter Angela McShan 
  • Station Annapolis 
  • Station Oxford
  • Station St. Indigoes
  • Air Station Atlantic City
  • Air Station Elizabeth City
  • Maryland State Police
  • Maryland Natural Resource Police
  • Anne Arundel County Fire Rescue

Coast Guard personnel searched a combined total of 3658 square miles over air, sea, and land over a period of 26 hours. 

“This was a difficult case, and even more difficult to make the decision to suspend the search,” said Cmdr. Matthew Fine, deputy sector commander and active search suspension authority at Sector Maryland-National Capitol Region command center. “Our crews and partners did everything they could to find them. We’ve kept the family informed at every step during the search, and our thoughts are with them tonight.”

Despite the Coast Guard suspending the search, The Capital reports that the Maryland Natural Resources police have resumed the search on their own.

In a statement released by the Kennedy Townsend, she said (in part):

With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery.

My heart is crushed, yet we shall try to summon the grace of God and what strength we have to honor the hope, energy and passion that Maeve and Gideon set forth into the world.

My family thanks all for the outpouring of love and prayers as we grieve and try to bear this devastating loss.

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