High surf rocks Oregon Coast, threatening lives and property

The Peter Iredale beach access at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria is closed because of the high surf and erosion. (Oregon State Parks)

FLORENCE, Ore. - Waves swept a man out to sea after he stepped over a sea wall in Depoe Bay, witnesses told Oregon State Police.

A helicopter from Coast Guard Air Facility Newport arrived within 10 minutes to search for the man. The search is ongoing.

The incident was one of several reports of injuries and damaged caused by high surf. The National Weather Service said waves this big happen on average only every few years.

A wave smashed a log into a group of women at Roads End State Recreation Site, sending at least one of them to the hospital Thursday.

And waves damaged the natural gas line and plumbing at an restaurant in Lincoln City, forcing staff and patrons to evacuate.

Oregon State Parks closed beach access up and down the coast, including the west Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint parking area north of Florence.

At Cape Kiwanda, state parks staff captured video of waves crashing over the top of the cape itself.

And the Peter Iredale beach access at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria was closed because of the high surf and erosion.

"People are urged to be aware of the sneaker waves, high water, debris pattern from ocean waves, and not to cross closed parking lots or parks that are closed due to the ocean conditions," state police said in a state.

Or as the National Weather Service put it:

"A High Surf Warning indicates that dangerous, battering waves will pound the shoreline. This will result in life-threatening conditions. Stay off jetties and piers since they can be quickly inundated by the heavy surf," forecasters said Thursday. "Or...better yet...just stay away."

But down at Sunset Bay, video from a viewer who said his name is Obi Juan showed surfers paddling out to catch a wave.

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