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Three Rescues on Oregon Coast This Weekend End with One Dead, See Video

Published 03/06/23 at 8:13 PM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Three Rescues on Oregon Coast This Weekend End with One Dead - Video

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(Pacific City, Oregon) – U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and Oregon State Police (OSP) crews had their hands full this weekend on the north Oregon coast, with one white-knuckle rescue at Ecola State Park on Sunday and a man who fell to his death at Cape Kiwanda on Saturday. (Photo courtesy Tillamook County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Cummings)

On Sunday, 911 dispatchers received a call from a man at Ecola State Park saying he heard people shouting for help from below the cliffs. The USCG called that man a “good samaritan” for alerting them to the situation.

Upon arrival with a helicopter, crews from the Air Station Astoria discovered two surfers in precarious waves just off the north Oregon coast promontory. They managed to latch onto rocks and were safely hoisted into the helicopter.

The USCG said “the subjects were subsequently transferred to local EMS with no medical concerns. Cannon Beach Fire and Rescue also responded to the incident.”

On Saturday, Tillamook County Sheriff's, Oregon State Police, Nestucca Fire-Rescue along with the USCG responded to Pacific City's Cape Kiwanda with reports of a man who had fallen off a cliff. The hiker had last been seen walking beyond a safety fence at a dangerous part of the headland known as “the punch bowl” - a sunken area where a small spouting horn exists but is also known for unpredictable wave action.

Part of the "punch bowl" area at Kiwanda (not Devil's Punchbowl near Depoe Bay). Oregon Coast Beach Connection photo

He was spotted walking in that section at 4:58 p.m. He had reportedly found his way onto a cliff above, then fallen some 20 feet and been swept into the ocean.

Since the area is within Oregon State Parks and Recreation (OPRD) jurisdiction, OSP took the lead on investigation.

“Witnesses lost sight of the victim and the rescue operation later transitioned into a likely recovery operation,” OSP said.

Photo courtesy Tillamook County Sheriff's Deputy Sam Cummings

His body was missing as of dusk on Saturday, and the search by the USCG and others was suspended until the next day.

In the meantime, he was identified as 25-year-old Henry Minh Hoang of West Covina, California.

About 24 hours later, at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, OSP said the victim's body was found at the bottom of a cliff of Cape Kiwanda's. His body was taken to a funeral home on the north Oregon coast.

Still from USCG video: rescue at Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach

The “punch bowl” area of Cape Kiwanda is fenced off for a very good reason. Oregon coast officials were gravely concerned back in 2016 as seven people had died there since 2009. Eventually, more fencing and signage were posted, which appears to have lessened the death rate there.

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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, covering the Washington Coast as well. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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