BIDDEFORD — Two kayakers who were reported missing Wednesday morning near the mouth of the Saco River are alive and well, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The two kayakers, identified as a male and a female, both enrolled at the University of New England, made it to shore on their own and had gone to bed for the night. The two saw media reports Wednesday morning and called authorities to report that they were safe, said Coast Guard Cmdr. Troy Vest.

Vest said the Coast Guard and other agencies had launched a major search for the two paddlers in part because the ocean water is still dangerously cold.

The Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol, Biddeford police and fire departments, the Scarborough fire department and the Cape Elizabeth wet team had been searching the area around the mouth of the river, including small islands in the area, since early Wednesday morning. The search also included a Coast Guard helicopter, Maine Marine Patrol airplane, in addition to several boats.

“Because of the cold temperature of the water we’re going to pull in as many resources as we can,” Troy said in explaining the scope of the search. The ocean temperature was around 40 degrees, according to the Coast Guard.

The two kayakers were reported safe around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. Neither the Coast Guard nor UNE would identify them.

Vest said he didn’t know whether the two had been wearing lifejackets or precisely where they had put ashore. He also said he didn’t know whether they had been in distress.

Crystal Canney, spokeswoman for UNE, would not say whether the students would face any disciplinary action by the school.

The searchers were working from a command post at the marine science building on the UNE campus.

The search was undertaken after a solo kayaker came ashore at about 11 p.m. and told a group of students having a bonfire on the beach that two other kayakers he had encountered on the water might be in trouble but he wasn’t sure. The kayaker didn’t know the other two and had not been kayaking with them.

The students on the beach told their dormitory’s resident assistant, who then notified UNE security. Security called Biddeford police at 12:05 a.m.

When authorities interviewed the kayaker who initially came to the beach, he at first denied he was the person who reported it, said Coast Guard Lt. David Bourbeau.

Bourbeau said the student might have been nervous about the possibility of getting in trouble, although Bourbeau said he knew of no infraction that had been committed.

High tide was at 1 a.m. in the area and the moon was almost full, conditions that can inspire some kayakers to go paddling at night.

UNE’s 5,500 undergraduates are in midst of finals week. The school does not rent kayaks and all its kayaks were accounted for, authorities said.

This story will be updated

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