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Two Rescues, One Death on Oregon Coast - Beach Arson Investigated

Published 05/14/23 at 6:22 AM
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Two Rescues, One Death on Oregon Coast - Beach Arson Investigated

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(Cannon Beach, Oregon) – Tragedy marred the busy weekend on the Oregon coast as a group of four teens ran into trouble in the ocean in front of Cannon Beach, resulting in one death. Another man had to be rescued near town after he and his dog fell onto a precarious spot, and a large brush fire in Lincoln City is being looked at as suspicious. (Photos Oregon Coast Beach Connection: above, Ecola State Park)

On Friday, May 12, crews from the Cannon Beach Fire District and Seaside Fire and Rescue's Surf Rescue Team to the Tolovana area in the southern end of town, receiving a report of a group who were swimming in the ocean just south of the main access and could no longer be seen. Cannon Beach Police Department arrived, and together the various teams discovered there had been four individuals in the ocean. Two of them were still out in the water and two were now on land.

A rescue swimmer from Cannon Beach Fire entered the water and soon found one of the victims, bringing that individual to back to shore. They were quickly transported to a hospital by MEDIX ambulance.

By this time, rescuers were joined by Seaside Fire, Nehalem Bay Fire and the U.S. Coast Guard. On the beach, there were a total of 11 personnel including three with jet skis.

All assisted in helping search for the last victim for another hour but were unable to find them. The U.S. Coast Guard continued searching until dark. Any searches are now considered a recovery operation.

On Saturday, crews from both towns responded to another emergency call, this time to a trail at Indian Beach in Ecola State Park. Approximately 12:10 p.m., crews were dispatched to find a man and his dog that had fallen off a trail cliff. Personnel talked to the man's girlfriend and received details from her, including that they had been walking on the trail coming out of the parking lot at Ecola. Rescuers arrived at the location and discovered the man and his dog were uninjured, but they had fallen 75 feet down a steep embankment.

Utilizing a rope rescue system, two responders were sent down the hillside to bring the man and his dog back up.

Officials from both Oregon coast towns said the drowning incident is a stern reminder to beware of Pacific Ocean currents and deadly rip tides. The latter can take someone out within seconds.

“Although ambient air and ocean water temperatures are becoming warmer, the water is still cold and can rapidly decrease a swimmer's ability,” Cannon Beach Fire said in a statement.

Above: an example of a yellow number marker

If you see someone distressed in the water, officials said you should immediately call 911. Note the yellow-colored number sign nearest you. Those are markers at each beach access along the Oregon coast which allow emergency responders to find the area quickly.

Both towns' emergency personnel also said you should observe state park regulations while on trails and keep dogs on a leash.

“Keep hold of small children for their safety,” they said.

Watch out for steep cliffs and rough terrain, and do not cross fences and barriers as these are there for your safety.

“Remember that trail edges can be fragile and cause hikers to lose footing,” officials said.

Photo Lincoln City Fire Depatment

Down on the central Oregon coast, a driftwood fire in Lincoln City Saturday caught the hills above it on fire, according to Lincoln City Fire and Rescue. The blaze grew considerably to threaten homes on the bluff, which was in the Taft area. Oregon Department of Forestry was also called in eventually before the fire was contained.

It is being investigated as an arson at this time.

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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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