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California hiker dies after falling off perilous Oregon bluff

Authorities said Henry Minh Hoang of the Los Angeles area was hiking beyond a safety fence at a state natural area 96 miles west of Portland when he fell.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.
Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.Courtesy Oregon State Parks

A Los Angeles-area man died after he fell while hiking along a perilous section of the Oregon coast over the weekend and was swept into the ocean, authorities said Monday.

The body of Henry Minh Hoang, 25, was recovered Sunday after it was spotted at the foot of a cliff, Oregon State Police said in a statement Monday. The exact location was not disclosed.

Hoang was hiking Saturday at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, 96 miles west of Portland, when he slipped and fell about 20 feet, state police said.

He was believed to have been knocked unconscious and swept into the Pacific Ocean, they said. It happened about 5 p.m. along a section of shoreline known as "the punch bowl," the agency said.

“Witnesses lost sight of the victim and the rescue operation later transition[ed] into a likely recovery operation,” it said.

An operation was launched with the help of Tillamook County Sheriff's Office, the Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District and the Coast Guard, but as darkness advanced it was suspended until morning, state police said.

Hoang's body was recovered Sunday afternoon on a nearby shoreline, the agency said.

His path had taken him beyond a “safety fence” at the state park, where a sandstone headland gives visitors views of the roiling Pacific and its clash with the rocky coast, state police said.

The picturesque park is a draw featured in countless tourism guides. Oregon State Parks has long warned visitors about the unstable bluffs, made up of sea-sculpted sandstone.

"Beyond the fence, the cliff edge can — and will — crumble without warning," it says on the webpage for Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

"It's dangerous, and people have died after climbing over the safety fences," the site says. "Don’t do it. The views are spectacular from the established viewpoints, on the safe side of the fence."

Attempts to reach relatives of Hoang were unsuccessful. State police said he was from West Covina, a city 19 miles east of L.A.