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Crews search Allegheny River for missing anglers in Lower Burrell

| Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, 5:02 p.m.
Members of the Murrysville Medic One Special Response Dive Team prepare to search the Allegheny River along Edgecliff Road in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, for two fishermen who went missing Sunday night.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Members of the Murrysville Medic One Special Response Dive Team prepare to search the Allegheny River along Edgecliff Road in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, for two fishermen who went missing Sunday night.
Steven Sieminski, 62, and his son, Justin Sieminski, 30, both of Harrison, were found in the Allegheny River on Tuesday morning. They had gone fishing Sunday and didn't make it back home.
Courtesy of Lower Burrell Police
Steven Sieminski, 62, and his son, Justin Sieminski, 30, both of Harrison, were found in the Allegheny River on Tuesday morning. They had gone fishing Sunday and didn't make it back home.
Search crews from Freeport Volunteer Fire Department and Eureka Fire Rescue EMS in Tarentum search the banks of the Allegheny River near Lower Burrell on Monday Aug. 15, 2016, for a father and son who went fishing around 9 p.m. Sunday and did not return home.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
Search crews from Freeport Volunteer Fire Department and Eureka Fire Rescue EMS in Tarentum search the banks of the Allegheny River near Lower Burrell on Monday Aug. 15, 2016, for a father and son who went fishing around 9 p.m. Sunday and did not return home.
A river rescue crew from Freeport Volunteer Fire Department makes their way from the Tarentum Marina toward the Braeburn section of Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, to search the banks for a father and son who went missing while fishing Sunday night.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
A river rescue crew from Freeport Volunteer Fire Department makes their way from the Tarentum Marina toward the Braeburn section of Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, to search the banks for a father and son who went missing while fishing Sunday night.
Members of the Murrysville Medic One Special Response Dive Team prepare to search the Allegheny River along Edgecliff Road in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, for two fishermen missing since Sunday night.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune-Review
Members of the Murrysville Medic One Special Response Dive Team prepare to search the Allegheny River along Edgecliff Road in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, for two fishermen missing since Sunday night.
A river rescue crew from Freeport Volunteer Fire Department makes its way from the Tarentum Marina toward the Braeburn section of Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, to search the banks for a father and son who went missing while fishing Sunday night.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
A river rescue crew from Freeport Volunteer Fire Department makes its way from the Tarentum Marina toward the Braeburn section of Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, to search the banks for a father and son who went missing while fishing Sunday night.
Family members of missing fishermen comfort each other as the search continues along the Allegheny River near Edgecliff Road in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
Family members of missing fishermen comfort each other as the search continues along the Allegheny River near Edgecliff Road in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.
Patty Huckabaa (left), the sister of the missing fishermen, and Jamie Haugh, talk to press, while the search continues along the Allegheny River in Lower Burrell, for their missing relatives, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.
Dan Speicher | For The Tribune Review
Patty Huckabaa (left), the sister of the missing fishermen, and Jamie Haugh, talk to press, while the search continues along the Allegheny River in Lower Burrell, for their missing relatives, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016.
Members of Eureka Fire Rescue EMS search the Allegheny River near Chartiers Run in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, for a missing father and son who went fishing Sunday night. The men's gear was found near the inlet.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
Members of Eureka Fire Rescue EMS search the Allegheny River near Chartiers Run in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, for a missing father and son who went fishing Sunday night. The men's gear was found near the inlet.
Westmoreland County detectives and members of the Westmoreland County Sheriff's office K-9 unit follow bloodhounds toward the Allegheny River in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, as they search for a missing father and son who went  fishing Sunday night.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County detectives and members of the Westmoreland County Sheriff's office K-9 unit follow bloodhounds toward the Allegheny River in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, as they search for a missing father and son who went fishing Sunday night.
Westmoreland County Detectives John Clark, left, and Tom Klawinski return from the Allegheny River in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, with belongings of missing fishermen who were last heard from Sunday night.
Dan Speicher | For the Tribune-Review
Westmoreland County Detectives John Clark, left, and Tom Klawinski return from the Allegheny River in Lower Burrell on Monday, Aug. 15, 2016, with belongings of missing fishermen who were last heard from Sunday night.

Divers were expected to return to the Allegheny River on Tuesday morning to continue the search for two anglers who vanished on Sunday night from their fishing spot in Lower Burrell.

Steven Sieminski, 62, of Harrison and his 30-year-old son Justin Sieminski have not been seen since they left for a fishing trip about 9 p.m. Sunday, according to Lower Burrell police Chief Tim Weitzel.

The Sieminskis were expected home about 1 or 2 a.m. Monday.

The chief said the men's family contacted his department Monday afternoon to report them missing.

Steven Sieminski's sister, Patty Huckabaa of Arnold, and his niece Jamie Haugh of Allegheny Township said the men were experienced anglers who had fished at Braeburn before.

While the Sieminskis occasionally camped overnight, it was unusual for them to remain out of contact for so long, the women said. They said the men were not answering their cellphones.

“They would never just disappear,” Haugh said.

“We're praying for a positive outcome,” Huckabaa said.

Rescuers were called about 4 p.m. to search by foot, boat and helicopter along a two-mile stretch of Allegheny River shoreline from the Tarentum Bridge to Lock and Dam 4 between Harrison and Lower Burrell.

The Sieminskis' red Chevrolet Blazer was parked along Lowe Road near Edgecliff Road in the city's Braeburn neighborhood, a popular fishing spot.

Aside from Lower Burrell police officers confirming they saw the SUV parked in the same spot overnight, Weitzel said, there are no known witnesses who saw the men fishing.

The chief said there is no sign of suspicious activity: “We have nothing to indicate they're missing due to someone else's volition.”

Some of the Sieminskis' fishing gear was found along the shore a few hundred yards downriver from their SUV, in the area where Chartiers Run flows into the river.

A team of bloodhounds and handlers from the Westmoreland County Sheriff's office arrived about 7 p.m. Weitzel said the dogs signaled on the area around the gear and the water's edge.

Divers from Murrysville Medic One were called into the water about 7:30 p.m. Shortly afterward, Westmoreland County Detectives John Clark and Tom Klawinski carried the Sieminskis' gear and fishing poles away from the wooded shoreline.

Weitzel said the divers' search was exacerbated by a debris field of waterlogged branches and logs just downriver of the fishing spot. The chief said the debris prevented rescue boats with sonar from coming closer to shore.

About 9 p.m., the chief said the search was called off because darkness made it too dangerous for divers to continue. At that point, several family members who had gathered near the scene left.

“For the divers' safety, we're going to call it off for tonight,” Weitzel said. “My heart goes out to the family that I can't give them more information tonight.”

Liz Hayes is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com.

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