On September 9, 2018 at approximately 5:30 PM, Oregon State Police, Depoe Bay Fire and Rescue, and the United States Coast Guard responded to a report of two people who had been swept into the Pacific Ocean off Otter Crest Loop Near Depoe Bay. The two were located and transported to Samaritan Pacific Hospital, in Newport, where they were pronounced deceased.
Investigators learned Miaochan Chen (age 49 from Lake Oswego-male) and Wenjun Zhu (age 41 from Lake Oswego-female) were visiting the Oregon Coast with their 10 year old daughter. The group were picnicking off Otter Crest Loop when Chen , Zhu, and their daughter took a trail down to rocks which overlooked the ocean. A wave washed over the rocks and swept Chen and Zhu into the ocean. Their daughter was unharmed.
The United States Coast Guard launched a helicopter from Newport and a 47 ft motor life boat from Depoe Bay. While The Oregon State Police and Depoe Bay Fire and Rescue responded to the scene. Chen and Zhu’s bodies were located, both unresponsive, at approximately 6:30 PM and helicoptered from the ocean to a landing zone at Rocky Creek State Park.
Life saving measures were attempted for both Chen and Zhu as they were transported, via ambulance, to Pacific Communities Hospital. Chen and Zhu succumbed to their injuries and pronounced deceased at the hospital.
Chen, Zhu, and their daughter had immigrated to the United States from China in July. Family members were notified with the help of the Chinese Consulate. The Department of Human Services – Lincoln County responded and placed their daughter into a local foster home and will be working with the families for her further placement.
OSP was assisted by US Coast Guard, Depoe Bay Fire and Rescue, Lincoln County District Attorney and Medical Examiner’s Office, Department of Human Services, and Lake Oswego Police Department.
The US Coast Guard and OSP reminds all beach goers, residents and visitors to the Pacific Northwest coast to always be aware of the dangerous conditions that exist on the coastline regions. Being aware of tidal changes and wave patterns can help you avoid these types of tragic situations.