Family of missing fisherman asks for more search help

Posted May 04, 2009, at 7:46 p.m.

LUBEC, Maine — Logan Preston, 19, of Roque Bluffs has been missing for more than a month, and now his family is asking Maine’s congressional delegation to step in and urge state and federal officials to resume their search for the urchin fisherman.

“We want help,” said Preston’s mother, Caroline Preston of Bangor, choking back tears. She looked out at the water as she stood with family members at the Lubec Marina on Sunday.

On March 25, her son and Loren Lank, 53, of Lubec left that same marina aboard the 34-foot blue-and-white fiberglass boat All American to drag for urchins.

No one knows what happened that day, but the boat abruptly sank near Red Island.

Family members fear that Logan Preston, who was on the stern, may have become tangled in the rigging and his body remains trapped under the boat. Lank, who was piloting the boat, was found floating near the debris field that day.

“I want to bring my son home. This is ridiculous. There is a missing person out there and they are just forgetting him,” she said of state and federal officials.

The day of the accident, the U.S. Coast Guard, Department of Marine Patrol and the Maine State Police Dive Team searched for the missing fisherman by water and on the shore while their airplanes and helicopters searched for him by air. Days later, the search was called off after no new evidence of Preston’s whereabouts was found.

There were other attempts to find Preston. Local fishermen searched for him on their own, as did Marine Patrol Officer Russell Wright.

Family members were dogged in their search.

Preston’s father, Roger, of Roque Bluffs, who also is a fisherman, searched for his son for more than 30 days straight after the accident while family members combed the shore. Preston and family member Nason Bean searched by boat again Sunday, but found nothing.

In April, search and rescue teams from the Bangor area spent a day in Lubec walking the shore and searching by water.

There was a moment of hope recently when fishermen using grappling hooks snagged something. When they pulled the hooks aboard, they found white paint on the hooks.

“They were hooked on something there for a while,” Roger Preston said. “Don’t know whether they lifted it up or what happened because when we went back and sent [Maine State Police] divers down, we just couldn’t find nothing.”

The water in the area where the boat sank runs anywhere from 40 to more than 100 feet deep. “You never know where stuff is going to end up — tide runs pretty hard,” Roger Preston added quietly.

Since their son hasn’t been found, the family wants renewed state and federal help. They have contacted U.S. Sen. Susan Collins’ office, but they fear the message did not reach the senator. Nason Bean said Collins’ staff told him there was nothing they could do.

The family also has contacted the offices of U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe and 2nd District Rep. Mike Michaud. They are still waiting to hear from those officials.

Lisa Bean, Roger Preston’s longtime companion, said they need boats with technical equipment on board to search.

“They do have special equipment that can pick up from 400 feet to 800 feet through the [U.S.] Navy. We’ve heard that,” she said. “They can detect metal underwater. We have the drag, we have the boat, we have the engine — there are so many things they can pick up on.”

The family believes that a renewed search would help. “The boat can be found if somebody puts an effort to it and [that] is not being done,” Nason Bean said.

“It would bring some closure if they could find that boat,” he added. “Either the body is there or it is not. Once we determine if it is not then we can put an end to this, move away from it.”

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