Authorities are asking boaters to be on the lookout for these missing paddlers. (L) Josiah Vladimir Clark (R) Jesse Oleg Clark

Missing Paddlers Aged 15, 13 Found Safe After Major Potomac River Search

The two teenage brothers that apparently took off Saturday night in a canoe have been found safe three days later on the other side of the Potomac River—across state lines.

The Coast Guard and other crews searched extensively by water, air, and land to find 13-year-old Jesse Oleg Clark and 15-year-old Josiah Valdimir Clark. A Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) spokesperson said the boys left at 9:30 on the night of April 3, from their home near Harry James Creek in Ridge, Maryland, on the St. Mary’s County side of the Potomac.

The Coast Guard reported the two boys were missing from their home along with a 17-foot silver canoe with black paddles, two life jackets, and a backpack with MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) and other survival equipment.

Coast Guard boat and helicopter crews searched for the boys along with NRP, St. Mary’s County Volunteer Fire Service, the St. Mary’s Sheriff’s Office, and the Virginia Marine Resources Commission. On Tuesday evening the sheriff’s office reported that the boys were found “safe and unharmed” near Coles Point, Virginia, which is across and well upriver on the Potomac =from Harry James Creek.

While investigators aren’t releasing further information about how the boys ended up in Virginia, it seems likely they got there by water. To drive the distance would take more than an hour going up the peninsula and around. Chesapeake Bay Magazine cruising editor Jody Argo Schroath estimates the shortest crossing to be about 9 nautical miles, but a canoe would have likely been pulled upriver by the current, and may have battled choppy water.

Bay Bulletin will continue to update this story as more details are released. NRP says their investigation is ongoing.

-Meg Walburn Viviano