Rescue crews search for fisherman in Sandy River - KPTV - FOX 12

Rescue crews search for fisherman in Sandy River

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SANDY, OR (KPTV) -

Emergency crews are trying to track down a fisherman who fell into the Sandy River.

Clackamas County deputies said an 18-year-old man was fishing with a friend when he fell into the icy river.

At 10:04 Monday morning, the call came in to dispatch.  A man told dispatchers that he and his friend were steelhead fishing when his friend, 18-year-old Joseph Deseranno, fell into the icy cold Sandy River and never came back up.

 "You can see these conditions are pretty poor today, about as poor as you can get," Clackamas County Sheriff's Deputy Robby Nashif said.

About two dozen searchers were called to help.  Some checked the banks of the river in case he was able to make it out of the water. Other crews used rafts, divers and special cameras to try and find Deseranno.

"It is clearer than normal and that's good.  Some of the downsides are, the water temperature is less than 35 degrees, the air temperature is about 29 degrees.  It is extremely cold," Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Lt. James Rhodes said.

The water is so cold, deputies said, it would take just a few minutes for hypothermia to set in.  To make matters worse, Deseranno was wearing waders, which can quickly fill up with water and make it nearly impossible to stay afloat. 

The frigid conditions have made this search slow and frustrating.

"The rocks are frozen solid.  I was slipping and sliding the whole time I was there," Nashif said.

According to deputies, the fisherman was also wearing a camouflage jacket, making him difficult to spot. 

Even though they want to find him, searchers are staying cautious, so they don't end up in trouble too.

"It's really treacherous conditions for anybody who is here fishing and now for our searchers who are looking for this man," Rhodes said.

Deputies said Deseranno was not wearing a live vest when he fell in.

The search has been suspended until Tuesday morning, weather permitting.

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