Tuesday, December 1, 2020

911 caller relives his response to deceased surfer’s struggles

Latest articles

K9 ‘Ghost’ to join Sheriff’s ranks

Lincoln County Sheriff's newest operator is K9 Ghost, a two-year-old German Shepherd who is slated to undergo training and certification to join the team in 2021.

High Wind Warning issued by NWS

National Weather Service Portland has issued a High Wind Warning Tuesday from seven a.m. until three p.m. for the Central Oregon Coast.

City seeks to fill multiple volunteer vacancies

The City of Lincoln City needs to fill over 20 vacancies left by outgoing volunteers for various committees and boards.

“Glaring” distinctions divide Congressional candidates

In the last day of what many voters feel is the critical election of their lives, the hotly-contested race in Oregon’s U.S. 5th District is poised on the glaring differences between two Congressional candidates — gutsy challenger Amy Ryan Courser and her six-term opponent, Kurt Schrader.

November 3rd looms closer at last

Whatever your political affiliation and views, the election craze is going to be over in what's now a matter of hours.

Courser claims ag abandoned by Schrader

The suddenly-tight race in the fertile U.S. 5th District could hinge on Oregon family farms and rural communities slammed by pandemic and wildfire, claimed the challenger to a six-term incumbent who has severed his official ties to agriculture.

Courser braces Schrader over law and order stand

Mounting the biggest challenge ever to an entrenched incumbent, Congressional candidate Amy Ryan Courser this week drew a stark battle line between her and six-term representative Kurt Schrader over law enforcement in the U.S. Fifth District.

Lincoln County discusses waiver of fees retroactively for wildfire victims

Lincoln County government met Monday to discuss possibly waiving construction fees for victims of the Echo Mountain Complex Wildfire and may do so retroactively to Sept. 8. 

Newport K9 team discovers commercial quantity of meth

Newport Police Officer Hayden Randall and his partner, K9 Nero, were responsible for discovering a commercial quantity of methamphetamine during a routine traffic violation...

NWS issues freeze warning for North, Central Oregon Coast

National Weather Service Portland issued a freeze warning Sunday night for the North and Central Oregon Coasts for 1-10 a.m. Monday.

Most popular

Evacuations in effect for Lincoln City

A level 3 evacuation is in effect for all of Lincoln City from 40th street north. Level 3 means go now.

MYSTERY SOLVED! D.B. Cooper was my friend

He was the soldier who became a skyjacker, the skyjacker who became a priest, and the priest who lived and died in Depoe Bay. He was D.B. Cooper, the most famous fugitive on earth, and he was my friend.

Fire strikes historic Otis Cafe on Independence Day

North Lincoln Fire Rescue units swarmed the Otis Cafe shortly before 8 p.m. Thursday to combat a fully involved fire at the iconic restaurant.

Highway 101 hole prompts ODOT to call in geologists

Oregon Department of Transportation officials have called in geologists Thursday to take core samples of a hole on southbound Highway 101 in Otis.

Lincoln City wildfires update

Lincoln City government issued an update Thursday on wildfires north of the city, saying all evacuation orders are still in effect and residents are not allowed in the area.

An evacuated Lincoln City sits dark and intact

Lincoln City Police were active Wednesday night and were patrolling with spotlights in a town evacuated and once again without power.


The witness who called 911 to alert first responders to a distressed surfer near Devils Punchbowl says he regrets not calling sooner to prevent the drowning of the young Corvallis doctor.

“I just wish I would have called earlier instead of waiting for him to call out for help,” Jefferson resident Milo Becktold said of the passing of 31-year-old Toren Stearns, who was pronounced dead Saturday evening at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital in Newport.

Milo Becktold is shown visiting Devils Punchbowl on Saturday

Becktold, who was celebrating his 37th birthday, said he and his girlfriend arrived at the popular natural viewing area about 18 miles south of Lincoln City at approximately 3 p.m. Saturday and saw Stearns, who had left his dog on the beach, struggling in the water.

“We started walking the loop, I guess you could say, and we saw the surfer down there,” he said. “He was having trouble staying on his board. We watched him for a few minutes, took some pictures of the scenery, and I told her, [there’s] going to be a rescue, not knowing what was going to happen. I did not even think it could have got that bad because he could touch and stand in some areas.

“So, we watched him try to get on his board and ride a wave in for about 10 minutes, but he just kept falling off his board. But then he started calling for help. That’s when I told my girlfriend to dial 911.”

Depoe Bay Fire District safety and rescue personnel arrived first on the scene at approximately 3:30 p.m. in response to Becktold’s report of a man trying to swim to shore but being battered by waves.

“He was still attached to his board at that time, but could not get back to it,” Becktold said. “The waves just kept hitting him and pushing his board toward shore while he was being pulled out.

“The waves kept crashing on him, which eventually detached his board. About 10 minutes after I made the call, we heard sirens, so I had my girlfriend go up to the road and wait for the rescue people. But by the time they got there, he had stopped moving and was just floating in the surf lifeless.

“About 25 minutes after the 911 call was made, a surfer from a local shop went down and tried to find him but couldn’t. Then, 10 minutes later, the Coast Guard boat arrived, but couldn’t get close. Then a [helicopter] came 10 minutes after that, but took a little while to locate the surfer. A diver was lowered in when they located him, but struggled in the surf — actually lost him a couple times — but always made it back to the unconscious surfer.

“The surfer then went in to help with the rescue, came out of the water, then went back in. He and the Coast Guard put the lifeless surfer on his board and made it to shore, where emergency crews were waiting. They tried CPR on him for about 10 [minutes], then loaded him in the [helicopter] to the hospital.”

Becktold, a land developer for new housing communities, said being an eyewitness to the tragic death weighs heavily on him and his partner, adding that people who see something should say something — immediately.

“Me and my girlfriend were on our way to Newport to eat dinner, but it was still early so we decided to go see the Punchbowl, then just stopped to watch the surfer when the worst happened,” he said.

Local authorities remind tourists and residents to beware of surfing and weather conditions before entering rough water on the Oregon Coast.

“I feel sad for his family’s loss at this time of the year, for it’s supposed to be a happy time with Christmas right around the corner,” Becktold said. “I’m sorry for their loss.”

Jim Fossum
Jim Fossumhttp://SilverandBlackToday.com
Homepage Executive Editor and former longtime Sports Editor of the near-200,000 circulation Las Vegas Review-Journal, Fossum brings 40 years of award-winning experience covering virtually every facet of print and digital journalism to Lincoln City Homepage. The former longtime reporter for the Newport News-Times and Lincoln City News Guard is also Editor-in-Chief and Senior Columnist for SilverandBlackToday.com, which covers the NFL's Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here



MYSTERY SOLVED! D.B. Cooper was my friend

He was the soldier who became a skyjacker, the skyjacker who became a priest, and the priest who lived and died in Depoe Bay. He was D.B. Cooper, the most famous fugitive on earth, and he was my friend.

Depoe Bay’s Pogo Robison passes

A larger-than-life figure in “The World’s Smallest Harbor” passed away Saturday, May 30, after battling recent health problems.

VIDEO: Pacific Ocean shows why it’s ‘King’

The Pacific Ocean snuck its way from Nelscott Beach onto SW 35th Street Saturday, as a crowd of storm watchers witnessed concrete benches and logs displaced by the raw fury of the sea during King Tide.

New DMV fees take effect Jan. 1, 2020

New Oregon vehicle registration, title and trip permit fees will take effect Jan. 1, 2020, as part of "Keep Oregon Moving," the biggest transportation investment in state history.

City seeks to fill multiple volunteer vacancies

The City of Lincoln City needs to fill over 20 vacancies left by outgoing volunteers for various committees and boards.

Digging up the past: Heinous 1984 Lincoln City crimes shock the nation

Thirty-four years ago this month -- with Halloween looming -- local mortician Dale Patrick Omsberg became the subject of the most expansive criminal investigation in Lincoln County history.

Drive-through COVID-19 testing Open in Depoe Bay, Waldport

Feeling feverish? Are you coughing? You say you suddenly can’t smell or taste that great home cooking?

A hike for all ages: Drift Creek Falls

Thirty minutes from Lincoln City in the Suislaw National Forest, lies the Drift Creek Falls Trailhead, a three mile (round-trip) semi-easy hike for all ages with a rewarding 75 foot water fall at the end. 

Scout Troop 47 Christmas tree fundraiser

Boy Scout Troop 47 is having a Christmas tree fundraiser at the Lincoln City Cultural Center to pay for the Scout's summer camp.