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One Deceased in Harrowing Fall, Rescue on S. Oregon Coast - Near Brookings

Published 04/30/23 at 11:22 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

One Deceased in Harrowing Fall, Rescue on S. Oregon Coast - Near Brookings

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(Brookings, Oregon) – A heartwrenching tragedy took place last week on the south Oregon coast, when three youngsters and an adult male strayed onto the wrong trail trying to get to Secret Beach, and it ended with the father deceased and one child with sizable injuries. (All photos courtesy Curry County Sheriff's Office, Gold Beach)

Curry County Sheriff John Ward released the information last week, describing a five-and-a-half-hour rescue situation that brought in a variety of agencies and responders, happening on April 22. The incident has created an outcry on south Oregon coast social media for some false trails in the area to be clearly marked as such and cordoned off.

Ward said it started when a family of four from Grants Pass and a juvenile friend started out at the wrong trailhead in an attempt to reach Secret Beach, a famed south coast spot that is anything but a secret. Brookings Police Department received the initial 911 call and transferred it to Curry County Sheriff's authorities. Grants Pass resident Jordan Acord was reporting her two kids, husband Ryan Acord and another child had fallen off a cliff at Secret Beach. [Secret Beach is Ironically Famous on South Oregon Coast | Video]

Medical and fire personnel were joined by Curry County sheriff officers and a Search and Rescue team, discovering quickly the four had actually tumbled off a cliff near the Spruce Island View Point, just a bit north of Secret Beach, near mile post 345.

“Law Enforcement located the Acord’s vehicle at the Spruce Island View Point and then located the trail they went in on,” Sheriff Ward said in a release. “ A couple of first responders rappelled to the beach and located both eight-year-old Nolan Haptonstall and thirty-six-year-old Ryan Acord.”

Responders found Acord deceased on the remote beach, which was some 200 feet below the trail. Haptonstall was treated on the scene. Meanwhile, a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter had finally arrived after being delayed by foggy weather. The helicopter lowered a swimmer onto the beach, who was able to secure the child and have him airlifted to Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach. Later he was flown by Air Reach to OHSU in Portland. The father's body was eventually released to a local funeral home.

The other two children, 8-year-old Liam Stidham and 12-year-old Kade Acord were discovered by the rappel team. Acord was discovered to be in a very precarious position.

“Acord, who had fallen off the upper portion of the trail, was hanging onto a small tree stopping him from falling the rest of the way,” Ward said. “[He] was transported by Cal Or Life Flight Ambulance to Curry General hospital where he was attended to and released to his mother.”

Stidham was not seriously injured and soon joined his mother. Haptonstall reportedly has some serious injuries but is expected to fully recover.

Ward said in another Facebook post that the four had somehow managed to get onto the wrong trail and made a “terrible decision” that resulted in this situation. Ward agreed with others on Facebook that some trails there are in need of being closed off and / or containing warning signage.

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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