PLEASANT POINT, Maine — The Maine Department of Marine Resources has taken over the search for a 23-year-old man who went missing Sunday when his canoe capsized in Cobscook Bay.
The U.S. Coast Guard announced at about 1:30 p.m. Monday that it had suspended the search for the man, identified by Coast Guard Lt. David Bourbeau as Majik Francis of Pleasant Point.
But members of the Maine Marine Patrol have since taken over the search, according to spokesman Jeff Nichols.
“We consider this not a rescue but a recovery,” Nichols said Monday afternoon.
“This is a very sad moment in the maritime community — and the decision to suspend any search is an extremely difficult one to make,” said Coast Guard Sector Northern New England commander Capt. Michael Baroody in a prepared statement released about 1:30 p.m. Monday. “Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the Francis family.”
Coast Guard crews searched for nearly 24 hours and covered 193 square miles, said Bourbeau in a prepared statement. The search for Francis included a 29-foot response boat from the Coast Guard station in Eastport, and a HC-144 fixed-wing aircraft and a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from the station in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Francis was one of three people in the canoe when it capsized about noon Sunday in Half Moon Cove, near Eastport.
The other two people — Brittany Foss, 38, of Eastport, and Joseph Francis Stevens, 23, of Pleasant Point — swam to shore, said Nichols.
Bourbeau said neither Foss nor Stevens suffered any injuries. Both were seen by EMS personnel and released.
The survivors reported Francis was last seen clinging to the canoe. None of the three was wearing a dry suit or life jacket, Bourbeau said.
The canoe was located near Spectacle Island in Cobscook Bay, though the Coast Guard did not say when it was found.
Nichols said one life jacket was found in the canoe.
The water temperatures are in the upper 40s to about 50 degrees, said Victor Nouhan, lead forecaster with the National Weather Service in Caribou.
The weather was sunny with temperatures in the low 50s when the accident took place, Nouhan said Monday.
Rain moved in during the late afternoon and continued overnight. Temperatures dropped to freezing and the shore got a dusting of 1 inch of snow, he said.
Bourbeau did not know what the canoeists were doing.
“That was never reported to us,” he said.
The Coast Guard was assisted in search efforts by members of the Maine Marine Patrol, U.S. Border Patrol, Perry and Pleasant Point fire departments, and the Quoddy Pilots.
Nichols said at about 4:30 p.m. Monday that the search was suspended for the night. Recovery efforts would resume Tuesday morning. Marine patrol was assisted in the recovery efforts by the Maine State Police.