Man presumed dead after trying to jump across Devil’s Churn inlet on Oregon coast

Sun, September 12, 2021, 9:10 AM

A California man is presumed dead after he tried to jump across Oregon’s treacherous Devil’s Churn — a narrow inlet on the Pacific coast known for its extreme currents.

The man, Steve Allen, 67, of Walnut Creek, California, tried to jump over the water passage at around 2 p.m. Thursday, Oregon State Police said in a statement.

Troopers, who originally responded to a call that a man had fallen into the ocean, learned later that Allen had jumped.

The Devil's Churn near Cape Perpetua in Oregon. (U.S. Forest Service via YouTube)
The Devil’s Churn near Cape Perpetua in Oregon. (U.S. Forest Service via YouTube)

Witnesses said that Allen fell into the ocean when he tried to leap across the churn and that other visitors were unable to rescue him, police said. Rescue agencies last saw him “unresponsive” in the water before crews lost sight of his body.

Agencies suspended their search around 6:40 p.m. Thursday, declaring Allen to be presumed dead.

The churn, about 140 miles southwest of Portland in Lincoln County, has extremely dangerous riptides and large waves along jagged rocks that form its narrow passageway.

Allen tried to jump across the narrowest part of the cove, which is 3 to 4 feet wide, the local news site Yachats News reported.

“It looks like you can jump across, but the other side is steep and slick,” a witness, Andy Nelson of Portland, told the site.

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