HomeOutdoorsNewsOregon Hiker Dies After Falling into Ocean from 20-Foot Cliff

Oregon Hiker Dies After Falling into Ocean from 20-Foot Cliff

by Jon D. B.
Waves crashing on cliffs, Cape Kiwanda, central Oregon Coast
Waves crashing on cliffs at sunset, Cape Kiwanda, central Oregon Coast. (Photo by: Greg Vaughn /VW PICS/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

The 25-year-old Oregon hiker was beyond safety fencing in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area when he fell to his death.

On Saturday, March 4, 2023, Oregon State Police responded to Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area to assist with the rescue of a male at approximately 5:00 P.M. A native of West Covina, CA, Henry Minh Hoang was hiking beyond a safety fence in an area known to locals as “the punch bowl.”

Hoang then “slipped and fell approximately 20 feet to the waters edge,” Oregon State Police cite. “The victim was reportedly knocked unconscious from the fall and was swept into the ocean by the waves.”

Witnesses, who called 911 upon Hoang’s fall, lost sight of the victim, turning the Oregon hiker’s rescue operation into a “likely recovery operation,” officials recall. The recovery effort would then suspend until Sunday morning, March 5, when searchers could safely resume their efforts.

On March 5 at approx. 4:30 PM, Hoang’s body was found on the shoreline nearly 24 hours after his fall from a rocky bluff. At the bottom of a nearby cliff, shoreline recovery would follow. The victim’s body was then transported to a local funeral home.

Tillamook County Sheriffs Office, Nestucca Fire and the United States Coast Guard, would all assist Oregon State Police in the hiker’s recovery.

Oregon Hiker’s Death Highlights Hiking Safety

Separate from the Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park, the “punch bowl” area of Kiwanda State Natural Area where Hoang fell to his death holds its own perils. Located near Tillamook, Oregon, the park protects striking sandstone cliffs and formations along the Pacific shoreline. These cliffs are brittle, however. Edges can and will crumble without warning.

As Oregon State Parks officials warn, Hoang is not the first death to occur from visitors disregarding safety railings. Heeding park signage and designated trails is paramount for Kiwanda safety.

“The fragile nature of sandstone means the ocean is constantly eroding and re-sculpting the entire scene, right before your eyes,” Cape Kiwanda explains. “Beyond the fence, the cliff edge can — and will — crumble without warning. It’s dangerous, and people have died after climbing over the safety fences. Don’t do it. The views are spectacular from the established viewpoints, on the safe side of the fence.”

Unlike the National Park Service’s extensive safety information for each park, this is where the state natural area’s briefing stops. There is currently only one advisory active on their website for a sink hole.

The sink hole, “measuring 20-feet wide and 15-feet deep has formed at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area in the lower northwest corner of the dune. Park staff have cordoned off the area for safety. We ask that people respect this barrier and all park safety barriers. Also, please keep your pets on leashes and children away from the edges,” the park asks.

Outsider sends our condolences to the loved ones Henry Minh Hoang leaves behind.