Correction: This deletes reference to the girls being on a guided kayak trip. They were kayaking on their own.

Coast Guard Cmdr. Brian Downey has confirmed that both kayakers missing since Sunday have died.

He said Irina McEntee, 18, and Carissa Ireland, 20, were unresponsive and had no visible vital signs when rescuers found them this morning. 

The bodies of the women were found about 3½ miles south of Cape Elizabeth. Downey said a Coast Guard helicopter spotted one of the women around 9 a.m. While she was being hoisted aboard, the crew of a Coast Guard boat about a mile away radioed that they had found the other woman. The helicopter flew to the second location and hoisted her aboard and flew them both to Maine Medical Center.

Downey said both women were wearing life jackets and street clothes, but not wetsuits. In 48 degree water, he said, typical survival time might be seven to eight hours, but he said that rescuers had not given up hope when they flew the women to the hospital.

He said a Coast Guard boat transported McEntee’s parents from Peaks Island to the mainland so they could be with their daughter. He said the Coast Guard was trying to reach Ireland’s parents, who live in the Ukraine.

The pair left Peaks Island early Sunday afternoon and paddled to uninhabited Ram Island about a mile away. They were last spotted on Ram Island by a caretaker on a nearby island and by McEntee’s parents, who could see the pair from their summer home on Peaks Island, said Maine Marine Patrol Sgt. Daryen Granata.

“They saw them from the house. They saw them get on the island, but they didn’t see them after that,” Granata said.

McEntee’s parents called the Coast Guard at about 5:30 p.m. when the women didn’t return, setting off an all-night search that included a Coast Guard jet and helicopter, two Coast Guard cutters and smaller boats from other agencies.

The women’s kayaks were found about 8 p.m. Sunday and their paddles were discovered Monday morning.

Officials said McEntee was from Hoschton, Ga.

10:48 a.m.

The two young women kayakers who went missing Sunday afternoon off Peak’s Island were found this morning, drifting three miles out in the ocean off Cape Elizabeth. Their condition is unknown.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported Irina McEntee, 18, and Carissa Ireland, 20, were found separately about one mile apart in 48 degree water shortly before 9 a.m. One of the young women was spotted by the Coast Guard search helicopter and the other was found by a Coast Guard boat.

The two were airlifted to Maine Medical Center in Portland where their families were gathering.

12:48 a.m.

PEAKS ISLAND – The Coast Guard was conducting a massive search on Casco Bay and its islands for two missing kayakers late Sunday.

The search began around 5:30 p.m. after the parents of 18-year-old Irina McEntee reported her missing. Coast Guard Petty Officer Etta Smith identified the second kayaker as 20-year-old Carissa Ireland.

The Coast Guard reported finding their kayaks late Sunday several miles south of their destination, Ram Island. One of the kayaks was overturned.

McEntee’s family owns a summer home on Peaks Island, and has been coming to the island from their year-round home in Georgia for about 10 years, according to longtime island resident and acquaintance Lynne Richard.

Richard said Jack and Gerry McEntee, Irena’s parents, own a summer home on Seashore Avenue. Richard said she doesn’t know Ireland, and the Coast Guard had no information about her.

“(The McEntees) are a wonderful family that comes up here in the summertime,” Richard said. “Irena is a sweetheart. I think the whole family likes to kayak. Nice, nice people.”

The women left Peaks Island around 1:30 p.m. They were last seen heading toward Ram Island in 12-foot-long, greenish-blue kayaks, according to the Coast Guard. Smith said they were wearing life jackets.

Ram Island is home to Ram Island Ledge Light, a lighthouse on the National Register of Historic Places. The island is on the seaward side of Cushing Island.

Nicholas Mavodones, Portland’s mayor and operations manager of Casco Bay Lines, said Ram Island is just over a mile from the ferry landing on Peaks Island and is nothing more than a ledge outcropping with a lighthouse on it.

The Coast Guard said the water temperature when the search began was reported to be 46 degrees with winds around 15 mph. Seas were about one foot.

More than 150 people were involved in the search, the Coast Guard said. A Coast Guard Falcon jet and Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Cape Cod were involved.

The Coast Guard cutter Campbell, a 270-foot vessel based in Kittery, also joined the search, along with the Maine Marine Patrol, the Portland fireboat, the Cape Elizabeth wet team and Falmouth’s harbormaster.

Paul Connor, a civilian search and rescue controller with the Coast Guard, confirmed that the women’s kayaks were found floating near Richmond Island — an island off Crescent Beach State Park in Cape Elizabeth — around 8:30 p.m. They also found one life preserver on the breakwater between the island and the beach.

One of the kayaks was upright and contained a jacket and T-shirt. The second kayak was overturned, Connor said.

Ground search teams looked for the women on Cushing and Ram islands, but could not locate them.

late Sunday, the ground search had shifted to Richmond Island and possible landing areas in Cape Elizabeth, including the area around Portland Head Light.

“We are lighting off flares tonight to help with the search,” Connor said.

“I really hope they are tucked in somewhere, safe and sound for the night,” said Richard, the Peaks Island resident. “We’ll say a prayer for them tonight and hope for the best.”

The search was expected to continue throughout the night.

“We are reaching out to the community tonight, hoping for some leads to help with the search,” said Lt. Lisa Ceraolo, command duty officer for Coast Guard Sector Northern New England. Anyone with information should contact the South Portland station at 767-0303.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at: dhoey@pressherald.com