Pickup Goes Over Cliff

by Bob Freund

Mission Report 93-04
Member Hours: 31 Miles: 200

CMRU was asked to assist Lincoln county in obtaining identification from a pickup truck which had left the Otter Rock Loop road and plunged down a hillside and off a cliff coming to rest on rocks at the water's edge. At High Tide, the vehicle was in the water, but at low tide it was well exposed.
Three CMRU members departed Corvallis shortly after 0800 and arrived in Newport at 0920. After receiving a briefing at the Emergency Services Office, we drove to the Otter Crest overlook to view the vehicle's location and possible approaches/anchors. By 1100 we were rigged and ready to descend. Low Tide occurred at 1109 (tidal range was 7 feet). Mardi descended first followed by Scott. A quick search of the beach area beneath the cliff turned up nothing other than the wrecked truck.
The truck contained many personal articles which were bagged and retrieved. After about an hour and a half, Scott and Mardi ascended the fixed line; and by 1400 our equipment was stowed and we returned the the truck.
The nearest tree for anchor was about 250 feet upslope from the first of three breakovers before the final cliff. Extending a fixed line from this tree results in about 18 inches of stretch under a "one-person" load. It was decided to rig another fixed line (about 220 feet) from this point down to the beach. The remaining 50 feet of the first line was used to create a 2:1 pulley system for use in raising the bags of material retrieved from the truck.
The exposed soil below the breakovers is very unstable and is embedded with small, medium, and large rocks. Every pass over the soil breaks it up and makes the slope more unstable -- thus increasing rockfall hazard. Use extreme caution in this area.
After the mission was concluded, Lincoln county was kind enough to buy lunch in Depoe Bay for the CMRU members. Also, Reagan Crowell, retired Benton County Emergency Services Coordinator living in Newport, came by to watch and wish us well.

Participants: Bob Freund, Mardi Keltner, Scott Linn

Photo by Mardi Keltner