The search for two students of a boat-building school who disappeared last week has been changed from a search and rescue to a recovery operation, Kennebunkport Police Chief Crag Sanford said Wednesday.

Zachary Wells, 21, and Prescott Wright, 23, were reported missing after they failed to show up for classes on Dec. 20 and 21. They were last seen at a gathering late Dec. 19 at Wells’ home on Mill Road.

On Monday, Maine Marine Patrol officers found clothing on ledges near Goat Island. Authorities said one piece of clothing was marked to indicate that it belonged to one of the missing men.

After suspending the search on Christmas Day, Kennebunkport police and the Marine Patrol resumed their search Wednesday in the waters off Kennebunkport.

Sanford said in a news release that Marine Patrol units were using sonar equipment in the area off Cape Porpoise.

“We continue to look for any explanation for their disappearance on the water,” Sanford said.

Police have said the men may have been intoxicated when they disappeared. Police have not released details about when the men left the house at 5 Mill Road or why, but have said there was no sign of a disturbance at the house.

Wells and Wright are students at the Landing School, a boat-building and design school in Arundel. Wells is a first-year student studying marine systems, and Wright is a second-year student studying yacht design.

Robert DeColfmacker, president of the Landing School, told the Portland Press Herald that he was told that Wells and Wright left their cellphones and wallets at Wells’ home.

The Maine Warden Service, which assisted by providing a plane and other resources to search the coastline and islands, is no longer involved in the investigation, said spokesman John MacDonald.

“Our effort has been suspended in terms of any kind of land searches and some of the island land searches,” MacDonald said. “It was a considerable effort on our part.”

The Marine Patrol and Kennebunkport police could not be reached Wednesday for further comment.


Staff Writer Randy Billings can be contacted at 791-6346 or at:

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