PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A 36-year-old man is dead, and two children were hospitalized after a group from Grants Pass fell from a cliffside along the Southern Oregon Coast on April 22, 13 miles north of Brookings.
Curry County Sheriff John Ward stated that the man, Ryan Acord, was attempting to hike to Secret Beach with his wife and three children when the group became lost. While using the trail, Acord and all three children slipped from the adjacent cliffside, causing Acord and 8-year-old family friend Nolan Haptonstall to fall roughly 200 feet to the beach below.
“The family and a small juvenile friend were all from Grants Pass and they were looking for Secret Beach but missed it and went down a trail north of Secret Beach,” Ward said. “They wanted to get to the beach, but unfortunately they were on the wrong trail and made a terrible decision which created the unfortunate situation.”
The Curry County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue rope team and the U.S. Coast Guard were dispatched to the scene, where they found Acord dead from his injuries. Haptonstall survived the fall and was ultimately flown to Portland for emergency medical care.
“I spoke to Nolan’s mother, and she reported that Nolan is doing fine, expected to have a full recovery, but had some serious injuries from his fall,” Ward said.
The other two children, 12-year-old Kade Acord and 8-year-old Liam Stidham, also fell down the steep hillside, but were able to stop themselves short of the cliff face and remain put until rescuers arrived. Kade Acord, who broke his fall by clinging to a small tree, was also airlifted to a local hospital where he was treated and released to his mother. Stidham was uninjured by the fall.
Ryan Acord’s body was successfully recovered from the beach by the U.S. Coast Guard. The rescue and on-scene investigation were concluded roughly five hours after the fall was initially reported.
The accident prompted social media outcry from local citizens calling for safer hiking trails. Ward addressed the comments on social media, agreeing that some of the trails in the area should be closed.
“You are all right that some of those trails need to be closed off or signed ‘no access beyond this point,’” he said.