Man Presumed Dead After Slipping While Trying to Jump Across Devil's Churn in Oregon as Wife Watches in Horror

A photo of the Devil's Churn along Oregon Coast
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Steven Allen of Walnut Creek, California, had been alive in the water for a total of 20-30 minutes before he was swept away, a report said.

A 67-year-old California man attempting to jump across a section of the crashing and choppy waters of the Devil's Churn on Cape Perpetua along the Oregon coast is now presumed dead after rescue efforts by bystanders and emergency responders were unsuccessful, officials said. 

The victim was identified as Steve Allen of Walnut Creek, California, according to the Oregon State Police.

Allen had been with his wife, Linda, on the rocks near the east end of the deep narrow conduit when he tried to jump from the south side to the north about 2 p.m. Thursday, YachatsNews reported.

“He just missed his footing and fell back into the water,” said witness Andy Nelson, who explain that it was an “innocent mistake.”

"It looks like you can jump across, but the other side is steep and slick," Nelson said, noting the area Allen was trying to cross was about 4-feet wide.  

Nelson said that he and a group of about six people created a makeshift line out of belts, dogs' leashes, and a shirt and dropped it into the chute. He said Allen was able to grab the line for a short time. Nelson ran to get help from a nearby park ranger, who had a rope with a life ring, as they waited for emergency responders to arrive.

Nelson said Allen, who had sustained a significant head injury, was able to grab the life ring and hold onto it for about 10 to 15 minutes, CBS News reported.

“It was cold… he was struggling,” Nelson said. “And then it became hard for him to hold on. Then he let go. It was too late."

Allen had been in the water for a total of about 30 minutes before he was swept away, a report said.

After the tragedy, bystanders tried to console Allen’s grieving wife. 

Officials said Allen appeared unresponsive when rescue agencies lost sight of him, according to KOIN News6.

The U.S. Coast Guard and other responding agencies tried to locate Allen, but the search was suspended by 6:40 p.m., CBS News reported.

OSP was assisted by Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, Newport Fire Department, Yachats Fire and Rescue, and the Coast Guard.

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