‘There is no hope to find the 38-year- old son of assassinated President John Kennedy, his wife and wife’s sister alive’- Coast Guard Rear Admiral Richard Larrabee announced Sunday. Remember, the single- engined Piper Saragota plane piloted by Kennedy is believed plunged into the sea Friday night, a day before Kennedy’s cousin Rory was to have married in a glamorous wedding on nearby Cape Code.
Pieces of plane debris have been plucked from the sea and small items like luggage, handbags and prescription bottles have washed up on Vineyard beaches where the young man known to millions of Americans as ``John-John'' played as a child.
It was the latest tragedy to hit a family that millions of Americans think of as their own, a family whose talented and sometimes flawed young men seem to die long before their time. President Kennedy and his brother Robert were shot dead by assassins, others died in plane crashes and ski accidents.
The announcement that searchers had given up hope of finding the three alive ended a weekend of waiting on the fate of the young Kennedy -- a man etched in the American memory as a 3-year-old, saluting the coffin of his murdered father.
The latest chapter in what many think is a ``Kennedy curse'' dominated the thoughts of a nation Sunday and spurred an outpouring of grief and affection.
Kennedy died before achieving his potential -- something many said of his father and his uncle Robert Kennedy, men who had they lived might have changed the course of the Vietnam War and the conservative thrust of American politics.
Jerome Frechette of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said that recovering the wreckage of the plane ``might take up to two weeks.''
NTSB chief investigator for the accident, Robert Pearce, said experts had discovered the plane made a sudden drop of 700 feet (200 meters) to 1,800 feet (545 meters) in 29 seconds just after 9:40 p.m. EDT Friday, below radar level.
He refused to say whether this sudden drop was abnormal and added, ``Seven hundred feet in 29 seconds would relate to about 1,400 feet per minute (425 meters per minute), which was within the airplane's capabilities.''
The search for the wreckage has been narrowed down to two or three sites close to the island and a specially equipped radar ship, the Rude, will return to sweep the areas at dawn Monday. Divers are expected to go down for a closer look.
State police are speculating the plane went into the sea nose first and broke up, a source close to the investigation told Reuters. The police do not expect to fund fuselage or human remains intact.
Kennedy was piloting the single-engine six-seater in descending darkness without using instrumentation -- a procedure many veteran pilots said was fraught with risks.
He had his license for just over a year and had bought the advanced Piper Saratoga only three months ago. Some news reports said that he had been reluctant to fly late at night but one of his party arrived at the airport in New Jersey late, forcing him to make the trip in partial darkness.
Britain's popular newspapers had no doubt who to blame for the crash -- the pilot. They described Kennedy as ``arrogant'' and ``a daredevil'' for attempting the flight.
The front page of Monday's Daily Mirror tagged Kennedy's last take-off with a one-word headline: ``Insanity.''
The Daily Mail played up a comment from Lauren Lawrence, a writer for Kennedy's George magazine, headlining its story ``Kennedy 'had a death wish'
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