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Sad story out of Mass.

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I found this while looking for a summer rental online, it's that time of year to really take the water seriously.



Hope wanes for missing kayakers

A search of South Monomoy finds no sign of the two women who paddled into the fog inadvertently Sunday.




CHATHAM - The day started with promise yesterday for searchers looking for two kayakers missing from Harwich Port. By day's end, a weary multi-agency search team - and the family of the two young women - had nearly lost hope.



Barnstable County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Barney Murphy and his dog Condor head to South Monomoy Island yesterday to aid in the search for two kayakers reported missing in Nantucket Sound.

(Staff photo by VINCENT DeWITT)





"It doesn't look good," Chatham Fire Chief William Schwerdtfeger said.


Despite a full day of canvassing Chatham's South Monomoy Island by foot, with helicopters, boats and track dogs, searchers found no sign of Mary Jagoda, 20, of Huntington, N.Y., and Sarah Aronoff, 19, of Bethesda, Md.


The Coast Guard cutter Jefferson Island out of Portland, Maine, continued the search in Nantucket Sound last night. Searchers plan to visit Monomoy Island again today.


The pair has been missing since 3 p.m. Sunday, when they hopped aboard two kayaks for what was supposed to be a quick close-to-shore paddle. But thick fog hanging just offshore quickly enveloped the women.


Their boyfriends, who were waiting for their turn in the boats, called for help about 50 minutes later.


Investigators have been unable to determine whether the women were wearing life jackets.


Buoyed by news early in the day that the two boats had been found, capsized and lashed together, floating near South Monomoy Island in Chatham, rescuers headed out to the island to begin looking.


The kayaks were found in an area known as Pollock Rip, just south of the island.


Crews from the Coast Guard Station in Chatham, Harwich Fire Department and harbor master's office, Chatham Fire Department and harbor master's office, Yarmouth harbor master's office and Barnstable County Sheriff's Department took part in the search.


Two sheriff's department tracking dogs, German shepherds Condor and Danny, were taken aboard a Chatham harbor master's boat shortly before noon by their handlers, Sgt. Barney Murphy and Sgt. Pat Martin. They joined the group already on the island.


Despite the presence of fresh footprints on the beach, the dogs never picked up a scent, according to Chatham Harbor Master Stuart Smith.


Crystal-clear conditions made the search by air ideal, but a Coast Guard helicopter saw no sign of the women after hovering up and down the 5-mile-long island all day.


A foot patrol that covered the entire undulating barrier beach spit also found no evidence of the women, according to Tim Millar of Harwich, who volunteered to help in the search.


By day's end yesterday, Louis Jagoda, the father of one of the missing women, was downcast, too.


"A couple of hours ago, I was encouraged, but right now I'm wondering why they haven't been found," he said from the Coast Guard station in Woods Hole, where he and his wife, Anna May, were being briefed with news as it came out of Chatham.



Reward offered

Jagoda is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who helps locate his daughter.

"I just want my daughter back," he said.


Mary Jagoda, a Brandeis University student, is the couple's only surviving child. They lost their son, Jake, who worked for the investment banking firm Cantor Fitzgerald, in the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.


"I can't imagine what they're going through," said Victoria Aronoff, Sarah's mother, about the Jagodas. She said her family had spent "the worst night of our lives" Sunday, after receiving news that Sarah and Mary were missing.


Mrs. Aronoff said her daughter, who is a junior at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., met Jagoda through their boyfriends.


She said the two couples were in Harwich for the long weekend at the family home of Aronoff's boyfriend, Joe Sacks, on Ayer Lane in Harwich Port.


A young man at Sacks' house yesterday said no one there was ready to talk to reporters.


Mrs. Aronoff, too, was encouraged early in the day by news that the kayaks had been found near an island. She said Sarah is a strong swimmer and is physically fit.


She speculated that the pair had made it to shore and dragged the boats onto the beach. The boats could have then drifted back out into the water with the tide, she said.


A Coast Guard helicopter spotted the two boats, capsized and tied together side by side, in an area known as Pollock Rip about a mile off the southern tip of South Monomoy Island. The island is owned by the federal Fish and Wildlife Service and is a wildlife sanctuary.


Aside from a lighthouse and several shacklike structures, the island is undeveloped.


After finding the boats, the Coast Guard dropped a diver into Nantucket Sound to look beneath the kayaks to see if either woman was there, according to Flynn.



Quick outing planned

Aronoff and Jagoda and their boyfriends were on the beach at the end of Ayer Lane Sunday afternoon when they decided to take the kayaks out, Mrs. Aronoff said.

"They were going to have the kayaks for about 10 minutes and then give them to the guys," she said.


When more than three-quarters of an hour went by and they did not return, the men called the police, she said.


Marilyn Dewar of Harwich Port said she saw the women head out as she was leaving the beach.


"If I had been closer, I would have told them not to go out in that fog. But, who knows if they would have listened," she said. "We assumed they were going to hug the shore."


A bedraggled Harwich Fire Capt. William Flynn, who was sitting at the Harwich harbor master's office at Saquatucket Harbor after coming in from an all-night search, said the conditions in Nantucket Sound overnight Sunday were treacherous. The winds were blowing toward the east much of the night and then shifted in the opposite direction by daybreak, he said.


Water temperatures in the sound last week were reported at 57 degrees.


He said he was told by the women's friends that when they left shore, one woman immediately headed straight out and the other angled off in another direction. The current was running very strong at that time, he said.



Jacket situation unknown

He said the friends could not remember whether the women had life jackets on.

"Especially in kayaks, life jackets are very, very, very important," said Chatham Harbor Master Smith, who spent all night Sunday and into yesterday searching Nantucket Sound.


"We had a lot of strikes against us in the beginning. There was black fog until midnight and the wind came on really strong," he said.


The sea was very choppy with 6- to 8-foot waves all night, according to Coast Guard Petty Officer John Haskins, who is stationed in Chatham.


Despite the mild temperatures and soft breeze inside Stage Harbor yesterday, the wind off South Monomoy yesterday was still very strong and the sound extremely choppy, he said.


Chatham Fire Chief Schwerdtfeger called off the search on South Monomoy at about 5 p.m. yesterday, after about five hours of searching. He said men had hiked the entire length of the island without luck.


Earlier, officials were upbeat about finding fresh footprints after Sunday's rainstorm, but Schwerdtfeger said it is not uncommon to find footprints on the beach at Monomoy. The island is frequented by boaters and shellfishermen.


"Chances are they're not on the island," he said. "One would think if the two ladies made it (to the island), they would have made themselves known to us or the helicopter."


Louis Jagoda said his daughter was a good swimmer who had swam competitively in the past. He said she was also trained in kayaking.


Millar said he recommends three or four hours of training for ocean kayaking. Even with the schooling, going out in conditions like those on Sunday is "like playing chicken with two cars," he said.


Body of missing kayaker found

CHATHAM - Authorities today found the body of one of two kayakers missing since Sunday after they paddled into the ocean fog and disappeared off a Harwich Port beach, officials said.









Today's Times story




The body was found by the Coast Guard late this morning and identified as Mary Jagoda, 20, Huntington, N.Y., the state police said early this afternoon. The body was found about 4-5 miles off Monomoy Point in Chatham, not far from where the pair's abandoned kayaks were discovered yesterday.


The search for the other missing kayaker, Sarah Aronoff, 19, of Bethesda, Md., continued this afternoon. Searchers earlier today had said they not optimistic in their search for the two women.


"All they can do is say a pray," said Wally Bicknell, assistant Chatham harbor master this morning.


Authorties today concentrated their search by sea and air on and around Monomoy Island, aided by Coast Guard and state police helicopters and local and county police.


Their water-logged Old Town kayaks were found yesterday capsized off the southern tip of South Monomoy Island in Chatham. They were lashed together with a bungee cord about a foot below the surface of the water. There was no visible damage to the kayaks and the paddles were missing.


The pair has been missing since 3 p.m. Sunday, when they hopped aboard two kayaks at a beach at the end of Ayer Lane in Harwich Port for what was supposed to be a quick close-to-shore paddle. But thick fog hanging just offshore quickly enveloped the women.


Their boyfriends, who were waiting for their turn in the boats, called for help about 50 minutes later.

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