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Milwaukie fisherman missing after slipping into Sandy River

Search will resume on Tuesday near former Marmot Dam


A teen fisherman fell into the Sandy River near the former Marmot Dam, about 6 miles east of Sandy, on Monday morning and a search came up empty before it was called off for safety reasons.

The missing teen has been identified as 18-year-old Joseph Arnold Deseranno of Milwaukie.

The Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Public Information Officer told KOIN Local 6 — Pamplin Media's news partner —that the emergency call came in at 10:04 a.m. Monday. Deseranno was fishing with a friend and attempted to cross the river.

"Deseranno and a friend had driven to the location earlier this morning to fish for steelhead," the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office reports. "Mr. Deseranno attempted to wade across the Sandy River when he slipped and fell into the water. He was wearing hip-waders and a camouflage coat. Mr. Deseranno was not wearing a Personal Flotation Device."

His friend called 9-1-1 when he could not find Deseranno in the river, the sheriff's office spokesperson said.

Roads in the area were icy Monday as a result of a region-wide cold snap. Icy roads initially made it difficult for rescue crews to get to the spot where the teen was reported to have fallen.

As of noon conditions were still too hazardous to put in kayaks and cloud cover and falling snow prevented air support. However, swimmers, rope teams, rescue teams and rafts were used.

About 20 searchers from the Clackamas County Water Rescue Consortium spent more than four hours combing the river and its banks, searching at least a mile downstream from where the teen fell. They reported that the Sandy River was clear but "very fast" through this section. Searchers say the water temperature was about 35 degrees, air temperature was 27 degrees, and river banks were covered in ice.

The earch was suspended Monday afternoon "due to safety concerns for the rescue personnel." The search is expected to resume Tuesday.