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Tillamook County Deputies Recover Body of Man Missing After Clamming in Netarts Bay, Oregon Coast

Published 4/11/24 at 3:15 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oceanside, Oregon) – The Tillamook County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) announced earlier this week it had found a missing man's body in Netarts Bay, presumably drowned after not making it out of an incoming high tide while clamming. (Above: TCSO photo. Searchers in Netarts Bay)

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On Thursday, April 4, north Oregon coast authorities received a 911 call that an adult male and female had been clamming on a sand bar at the upper section of Netarts Bay, near the junction of Netarts Bay Dr. and Whiskey Creek Rd, said TCSO Marine Deputy Dennis Greiner. The pair misjudged the incoming tide and began swimming across the bay to the shoreline.

The incident happened about 8:30 p.m. He was 54 years old and visiting the Oregon coast from New Mexico.

“The woman made it to shore and turned around to look for the man, but could not see him,” Deputy Greiner said. “The last time she saw him he had water up to his neck. The man was also wearing waders. She immediately called 911.”

Courtesy TCSO

Responding to the scene were medics from Tillamook Ambulance as well as TCSO, the US Coast Guard, Netarts-Oceanside Fire and Garibaldi Fire Rescue. Medics remained on shore while the other groups searched the bay and shoreline for the missing man for about three hours.

“Tillamook 911 dispatchers assisted responding units, and a USCG Helicopter from Astoria responded and searched for as long as their fuel load would allow,” the TCSO said. “The helicopter stayed on scene searching for some time.”

With no success and darkness having come some time before, searchers abandoned the effort for the night but returned at daybreak, searching again for several more hours, Greiner said.

A day later, on Saturday, April 6, Tillamook 911 received a call at 5:30 p.m. from a group of people who were crabbing on Netarts Bay, saying they had found a deceased man partially in the water. OSP Troopers and deputies from TCSO responded to an area close to where the man had been seen.

They were finally able to recover the man's body.

“Corporal Chris Barnett and I walked out to the reported location and found a deceased adult male lying prone in the sand,” said Deputy David Bartlett. “It was determined to be the man who had been reported missing on April 4. He was still wearing black waist-high waders, a zippered jacket, and yellow gloves. I observed no suspicious injuries.”

Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) said you should always know the tides when you're on the coast, but especially if you plan any activity in the water.

“Know when the tide is coming in, especially when exploring tidepools or secluded beaches,” OPRD said. “Incoming tides can quickly leave you stranded away from shore. Be extra careful during extreme high or low tides and storms.”


Photo TCSO (larger version)

Photos below of Netarts / Oregon Coast Beach Connection

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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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