Angela Chao, shipping industry exec, died on Texas ranch after her car went into a pond, report says

Mar 11, 2024, 6:42 PM

JOHNSON CITY, Texas (AP) — Angela Chao, a shipping industry CEO and sister-in-law to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, died on a Texas ranch last month after her car went into a pond and became submerged in water for an extended period of time, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Chao, 50, died Feb. 11 in the Texas Hill Country. A family statement at the time did not disclose details about her death and authorities in Blanco County have not released additional information, citing an ongoing investigation.

The Wall Street Journal, citing a fire department incident report, said rescue workers needed a dive team upon arriving at the scene but none was available. One emergency unit arrived at 12:28 a.m., about 24 minutes after getting a call.

Deputies requested devices to break the window of the vehicle, a Tesla, and an emergency services worker and firefighter entered the water with rescue tools.

Chao was found unresponsive after the car was pulled from the water, Blanco County emergency services chief Ben Oakley said. She was pulled from the vehicle and attempts were made to resuscitate her, the Journal reported.

Chao was the chair and CEO of her family’s shipping business, the Foremost Group, and the president of her father’s philanthropic organization, the Foremost Foundation. A spokesperson for the family and company declined to comment Monday on the report.

Officials with Blanco County fire and emergency services did not immediately return an email Monday seeking information about the accident.

Chao was the youngest of six sisters to immigrant parents who moved to the U.S. from China in the late 1950s. Her eldest sibling, Elaine Chao, is married to McConnell and served as transportation secretary under President Donald Trump and labor secretary under President George W. Bush.

McConnell made note of his sister-in-law’s death when he announced last month that he was stepping down as the Senate Republican leader.

“As some of you may know, this has been a particularly difficult time for my family. We tragically lost Elaine’s younger sister Angela, just a few weeks ago,” McConnell said on Feb. 28. “When you lose a loved one, particularly at a young age, there’s a certain introspection that accompanies the grieving process.”

Chao’s father, James S.C. Chao, said in the family statement at the time of her death that “her absence leaves a void not only in our hearts, but in the Asian-American community.”

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Angela Chao, shipping industry exec, died on Texas ranch after her car went into a pond, report says