LOWER BURRELL (KDKA) — A full-scale search was launched Monday, both in the water and on the banks of the Allegheny River in Westmoreland County, after a father and son failed to return home after going fishing.
The two missing anglers have been identified as 62-year-old Stephen Sieminski and his 30-year-old son, Justin, both from the Natrona area of Harrison Township.READ MORE: Environmental Group Protests Proposed Fracking Project In Penn Township
Emergency crews began searching for the men around 4 p.m. after Stephen’s wife called and said she hadn’t heard from the men since last night.
The Lower Burrell Police chief kept Sieminski family members updated on search operations, which – by nightfall – had turned into something else.
Chief Tim Weitzel said, “At this point, divers searching the water would be a recovery effort, and we’ll continue with those recovery efforts [Tuesday]. I’ll take my lead from the dive captains to expand the search out as far as is prudent to do, and is safe to do.”
The divers terminated their search efforts Monday night due to darkness and safety concerns.
“They’re contending with heavy debris in the water,” Chief Weitzel said. “The debris being tree branches and logs; stuff that flows down with the current.”
The fishermen’s red Chevy Blazer was found at Lowe and Edgecliff Roads, near the spot where some of their fishing equipment was discovered along the shoreline.
Volunteers from several local fire departments helped in the search, along with bloodhounds from the Westmoreland County Sheriff’s Department and a special dive team from Murrysville.READ MORE: Pfizer Says COVID-19 Vaccination Is Nearly 91% Effective In Children
The dogs tracked the men’s scent to the water, and then lost it. Divers then went into the water.
Family members who gathered near the search area said the two men were avid fishermen, who were familiar with the area.
The elder fisherman’s sister, Patty Huckabaa, said, “It’s a nightmare. I think my brother is a diabetic, but they’ve been fishing in this area for years and years.”
Another relative, Jamie Haugh, said, “They were very laid back. They’re simple guys, they like to fish. It’s probably something they wanted to do together. We want a positive outcome. We would appreciate prayers.”
The recovery efforts are set to resume Tuesday at 8 a.m.MORE NEWS: Woodland Hills Varsity Football's Friday Night Game To Limit Capacity Following School Fights