Woman falls from cliff near Neskowin, Ore.

SEATTLE — Coast Guard and local agencies including the Tillamook County, Ore., Sherriff’s Department attempted to rescue a 22-year-old woman who fell from a cliff and was swept out to sea near Neskowin Beach in the vicinity of Neskowin, Ore., Saturday.

Coast Guard Group North Bend, Ore., was notified by Tillamook 911 that the woman had fallen at 3:36 p.m. Coast Guard Station Depoe Bay, Ore., was unable to respond due to dangerous water conditions. An HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Astoria, Ore., was dispatched to the scene, but had to return to base after being struck repeatedly by birds. A second HH-60 crew managed to reach the area, but had to turn back after 15 minutes due to dangerous weather including 20-foot seas and no visibility.

“The crew couldn’t see the water below them,” said Robert Coster, a Coast Guard search and rescue controller at Air Station Astoria. “They tried to wait out the weather, but things only got worse.”

The Oregon coast is notorious for rip currents and sneaker waves capable of knocking beachgoers into the ocean and carrying them out to sea. The Coast Guard advises all beachgoers to keep aware of their surroundings and check local weather forecasts before going out. Safety messages are regularly broadcast on Marine Radio Channels 16 and 22A.

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