The curse of the Kennedys has struck again, with two members of the tragedy-plagued clan feared dead after their canoe foundered in high winds on Chesapeake Bay.
Friday night’s (US time) hunt for Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, and her 8-year-old son, Gideon, turned up no trace of the duo.
Their fragile craft was found empty, overturned and adrift, prompting searchers to give up all hope and reclassify the hunt from “rescue” to “recovery”.
The missing mother and son are the daughter and grandson of former Maryland Lieutenant Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who is the daughter of slain US Attorney general Bobby Kennedy and niece of assassinated president John F. Kennedy.
“With profound sadness, I share the news that the search for my beloved daughter Maeve and grandson Gideon has turned from rescue to recovery,” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said in a statement.
Kathleen Kennedy Townsend issues a statement on her daughter and grandson lost in boating accident: 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
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) April 4, 2020
A Maryland Natural Resources Police spokeswoman said authorities suspended the search Friday night, with efforts to recover the bodies set to resume Saturday morning (local time).
The search started Thursday afternoon after the state Natural Resources Police responded to a report of two people in a canoe who appeared to be in distress due to strong winds.
Initial reports from the search hub say the tragedy began to unfold when a ball landed in Chesapeake Bay near Shady Side, Maryland, where there is a Kennedy-owned waterside property.
The mother and son reportedly climbed into the canoe to fetch the ball but were driven away from the shore by winds so strong they were unable to make their way back.
A heritage of tears
The latest deaths seemingly confirm a wisecrack by Bobby Kennedy after learning that little brother Ted Kennedy had been pulled barely alive from a light plane crash that claimed the life of a senior aide.
“Someone up there doesn’t like us,” he said.
Three years later, Bobby Kennedy would himself be gone, gunned down by a lone assassination in a Los Angeles hotel while campaigning for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.
Here are some of the other blows fate has inflicted on the Kennedy clan:
August 1944 – Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. when his experimental bomber blows up in midair over East Suffolk, England.
May 1948 – Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy perished in a French plane crash
August 1963 – Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, son of JFK and Jackie Kennedy, died of infant respiratory distress syndrome two days after his premature birth.
November 22, 1963 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas by Lee Harvey Oswald.
June 5, 1968 – On the night of his victory in the California Democratic presidential primary, U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was fatally wounded by Sirhan Sirhan in LA’s Ambassador Hotel
April 25, 1984 – David A. Kennedy succumbed to a drug overdose in Palm Beach, Florida
December 31, 1997 – Michael LeMoyne Kennedy died after striking his head while skiiing in Aspen, Colorado.
July 16, 1999 – John F. Kennedy Jr.’s plane plunged into the sea en route to Martha’s Vineyard. The crash also claimed wife, Carolyn Bessette, and her sister.
September 16, 2011 – Kara Kennedy died of a heart attack while exercising in a Washington, D.C. health club.
May 16, 2012 – Mary Richardson Kennedy committed suicide on the grounds of her home in Bedford, Westchester County, New York.
August 1, 2019 – Saoirse Roisin Kennedy Hill died of an accidental drug overdose at the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
– with AAP