Two members of the Kennedy family who went missing while canoeing are now presumed dead after efforts to find them failed, relatives said.
This is a new drama for the most famous dynasty in the United States, which has been regularly hit by tragedy ever since the 1963 assassination of then Democratic President John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas, Texas.
U.S. authorities had announced on Friday that JFK’s great-niece, Maeve Kennedy McLean (40) and her eight-year-old son Gideon, had failed to return on Thursday from a canoeing trip in the Chesapeake Bay, near Washington D.C. Coastguards, police and firefighters immediately set out to find them, but failed.
“The chances they have survived are impossibly small,” Maeve’s husband, David McLean, wrote on Facebook on Saturday. “It is clear that Maeve and Gideon have passed away.”
The victims’ mother and grandmother, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, added in a press release that the searches launched by the authorities were no longer a rescue effort but a recovery operation.
Kathleen Kennedy is the eldest daughter of former Justice Minister Robert Kennedy, who was assassinated in 1968 while he was well placed to win the Democratic presidential primaries.
The family later suffered other tragedies: one of Robert Kennedy’s sons, David, died at the age of 28 from a cocaine overdose in a Florida hotel in 1984. Another of Robert’s sons, Michael, died after he crashed into a tree while skiing down a slope in Colorado in 1997.
In 1999, JFK’s son, John F. Kennedy Jnr, died along with his wife Carolyn and sister-in-law Lauren when the plane he was flying crashed in Massachusetts.
Last year, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, a granddaughter of Robert Kennedy, died from a cocaine overdose at the age of 22.