CAPE PERPETUA — Authorities gave up the search for a man who fell into Devils Churn while reportedly attempting to jump over the chasm and is presumed dead.
According to a press release from the Oregon State Police, troopers and emergency personnel responded at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, to the U.S. Forestry Service’s Devils Churn Day Use Area south of Yachats for a report of a person who had fallen into the ocean.
Preliminary investigation revealed Steve Allen, 67, of Walnut Creek, Calif., attempted to jump across Devils Churn and fell in, according to the press release.
A bystander told YachatsNews he saw Allen attempt to jump across a 3 to 4-foot wide section of the inlet, lose his footing on the other side and slip back into the water.
The bystander and a half-dozen other visitors linked together belts, a dog leash and clothes and dropped it to Allen. A park ranger then dropped a life ring to him, but Allen appeared to have suffered a serious head injury and had difficulty holding onto either for long, the south county news site reported.
The bystander told YachatsNews he was surprised that someone would attempt to jump the gap, but “it was not a stunt. It was an innocent mistake.”
In addition to the state police, Newport Fire Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Yachats Rural Fire Protection District and the joint Lincoln County Technical Rescue Team responded to scene, and the U.S. Coast Guard Sector North Bend dispatched a helicopter and motor lifeboat.
Allen was last observed unresponsive in the water before rescue personnel lost sight of him. Rescue agencies suspended their search at approximately 6:40 p.m., and Allen is presumed deceased.