Monday, December 11, 2006
Updated: December 12, 11:15 AM ET
Hope fading for Gainey's daughter missing at sea
ESPN.com news services
LUNENBURG, Nova Scotia -- The U.S. Coast Guard's aerial
search for the daughter of hockey great Bob Gainey was suspended
Monday night, three days after she was washed overboard in the
Atlantic during a storm while working on a sailing ship bound for
Laura Gainey was on the deck of the tall ship Picton Castle on
Friday night when a large wave swept her overboard. Petty Officer
Larry Chambers said the U.S. Coast Guard's search about 475 miles
off Cape Cod was on hold, but the Picton Castle would continue
looking for her.
U.S. and Canadian Coast Guard aircraft had scoured the ocean for
Gainey since Friday, Chambers said from U.S. Coast Guard district
headquarters in Portsmouth, Va., where the search was being
The U.S. Coast Guard continued to oversee a search Monday
evening by a merchant vessel and the ship from which Gainey fell,
Chambers said. The Canadian Coast Guard aircraft -- which had been
swapping shifts with the U.S. Coast Guard -- also ended its search
The 25-year-old daughter of the Montreal Canadiens' general
manager was thrown from the 180-foot boat Friday night without a
On Tuesday, after the aerial serach was called off, the Canadiens' ownership extended its "deepest sympathies to Bob Gainey and his family, and wish to share sincere thoughts and prayers during these difficult moments."
The water temperature in that part of the mid-Atlantic is about
68 degrees. The U.S. Coast Guard said Gainey, a strong swimmer
wearing protective clothing, probably could survive for about 36
hours. However, Chambers said, after 70 hours in the water "the
likelihood of survivability" would "diminish rapidly."
"The reasonable time for survivability has already been
expended," Chambers said Monday. "I just want to make clear that
suspending a search is one of the most difficult decisions we can
Matthew Brooks, a civilian search and rescue specialist with the
U.S. Coast Guard, said U.S. air rescuers used infrared night-vision
goggles to search the dark waters late Sunday. American and
Canadian search aircraft later dropped data buoys in the area.
"They talk to us via satellite, and they send us positions on
the hour," Brooks said. "This is the best way to tell us how the
water is moving."
Less than two weeks ago, the tall ship set sail from the
Lunenburg for a six-month tour that would take it to the Caribbean.
Gainey was a member of the crew, with responsibility for certain
watches and instruction of volunteer trainees.
The ship's senior captain read a statement on behalf of the
"They are tired and, like us, they are devastated," said
Daniel Moreland, who was in the ship's home port of Lunenburg when
Gainey was reported missing. "But they soldier on. They have a job
to do. So do we."
Canadiens assistant general manager Pierre Gauthier is handling
Gainey's duties during his absence. Gauthier, team president Pierre
Boivin and other club officials visited the dressing room Monday
before practice to update the players.
"Everyone's in a state of shock now," said coach Guy
Carbonneau, whose team hosts Boston on Tuesday night. "But the
best thing for us to do now is to hope for a miracle and keep
winning. I think that's what Bob wants."
Carbonneau, who played with Gainey in the 1980s and later played
for him in Dallas, knew about the disappearance Saturday morning.
He chose not to tell his players before or after their 3-2 shootout
loss to Buffalo that night.
"I didn't want to distract the players," Carbonneau said. "I
could have told them after the game, but I wasn't comfortable with
that. Bob is a very private and discreet person. The name hadn't
been released and Bob wanted that it not be known for as long as
A member of the hockey Hall of Fame, Gainey won five Stanley
Cups with Montreal during a 16-year career as a forward from
1973-89. He also won a championship as general manager of the
Dallas Stars in 1999. His wife, Cathy, died of brain cancer in 1995
Carbonneau has been in daily phone contact with Gainey. He said
the GM was concerned about the team, but Carbonneau urged him to
set that aside.
"That's the worst thing for a parent -- to lose a child, no
matter what the age," he said. "For sure, he was in a state of
shock, but he's still strong mentally. Even today [Monday], he was
as solid as he was Saturday morning when he called. He's still
hoping like everyone else."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.