Mr. Smith's brother-in-law, Lawrence Kirk, also died in the accident.
On November 20, 1939, the scallop dragger Madeline & Flora left Rockland, Maine, for a ten-day trip to Georges Bank. It was a cold, sunny day. They passed another dragger, the Muskegon, near Matinicus Island. When the ship did not return on November 30, the Coast Guard began an exhaustive search by ten vessels, including a Navy destroyer. According to the Daily Kennebec Journal of December 10, "the searching extending north to Cape Baslo and east and south more than 300 miles was spurred by President Roosevelt's announcement at the White House yesterday that the government would make every effort to find the boat." The search was abandoned on December 18, and no wreckage was ever found.