Two members of the Kennedy family who went boating on Thursday in the Chesapeake Bay were missing on Friday afternoon, according to the authorities.
The Maryland Natural Resources Police confirmed that the boaters were Maeve Kennedy Townsend McKean, 40, a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, and her son Gideon Joseph Kennedy McKean, 8.
“At this time, our family asks for privacy and that everyone keep Maeve and Gideon in their prayers,” the family said in a statement.
Ms. McKean, the executive director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative, is the daughter of Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, a former lieutenant governor of Maryland.
A search began on Thursday around 5 p.m. in the Chesapeake Bay off Shady Side, Md., south of Annapolis, after two people in a canoe appeared to have been overtaken by strong winds, according to the Natural Resources Police.
A preliminary investigation revealed that Ms. McKean and her son may have been paddling the canoe into the bay to retrieve a ball and were unable to paddle back to shore, the Natural Resources Police said.
Around 7 p.m., an overturned canoe matching the description of the one the two had been using was found, the Natural Resources Police said.
A full search involving members of the Natural Resources Police, the Maryland State Police, the United States Coast Guard and local police and fire departments continued into Thursday night.
The Coast Guard continued to search overnight, and the Natural Resources Police returned to the area in the morning. According to the Coast Guard, there were two- to three-foot waves and 29-mile-an-hour winds in the bay when the mother and son disappeared.
Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland called the disappearance “sad news.” He said on Friday that an “intensive search” was underway and that he had spoken to Ms. Townsend on Friday morning.
“On behalf of the people of Maryland, I expressed our most heartfelt sympathies and prayers to her and her entire family during this difficult time,” he said.
The disappearance evoked other misfortunes that have befallen the famous family, known for producing a president, senators and other Democratic leaders. Last August, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, 22, a granddaughter of Robert F. Kennedy, died after what appeared to be an overdose at the family compound in Hyannis Port, Mass.