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September 9, 2012

Water search called off for missing kayaker

SWAMPSCOTT — The Coast Guard discontinued a massive search for missing kayaker Maryan Lisovich tonight at 7:30. Area police have been notified and will continue to search onshore, according to Swampscott police Sgt. Tim Cassidy.

“We went all out on it,” said Brian Fleming, the civilian command duty officer of the Coast Guard Sector Boston. “There was a high probability of success had the person been on the surface.”

The 23-year-old man paddled away from Swampscott Harbor’s Fisherman’s Beach at 4 p.m. on Saturday without a life jacket. By 6 p.m., he was overdue and a friend contacted police.

Lisovich’s blue kayak was found on Eisman’s Beach along with a paddle and yellow oars.

A Coast Guard helicopter hovered over the waters of Eisman’s Beach on Saturday night, using search lights to illuminate the nearby rocky shore. Marblehead and Swampscott harbormaster boats, police, and fire personnel also responded. When it began to rain hard around 9 p.m., the helicopter stopped its search.

The overall effort continued, however, involving Coast Guard vessels from Boston, Gloucester and Point Allerton in Hull; the state police; and the Environmental Police. At any one time, according to Fleming, six to seven boats were in the water. In addition, the Coast Guard cutter Hammerhead was sent from Woods Hole.

From the air, three helicopter searches were initiated and one using a Coast Guard jet from Air Station Cape Cod. More than 400 square nautical miles were covered, and the various vessels traveled an accumulated 836 nautical miles.

Initially, the search centered on an area near where the kayak was launched.

“As time goes by,” Fleming said, “the search area gets bigger.”

Next, a computer simulation was used to chart ocean currents on the possibility that the missing man had drifted out the sea.

“I’ve been doing this 38 years,” Fleming said, “and this was as comprehensive a search as we’ve ever done.”

All that was recovered was a drifting life jacket and an empty dinghy. Though neither contained a name, the Coast Guard was able to find the owners of both.

Staff writer Ethan Forman contributed to this story.

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