California man presumed dead after fall from Oregon waterfall; search continues

Toketee Falls (USDAFS)

TOKETEE FALLS, Ore. - The California man who fell from a cliff above Toketee Falls on Sunday is presumed dead, Douglas County officials said Wednesday.

The serach for Brian Lewinstein, 23, of Berkeley, California, resumed Wednesday.

"Lewinstein had crossed a safety fence to take a photograph from above the falls when he slipped and fell down the steep embankment," according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office.

Searchers believe Lewinstein fell into the top pool of the falls, the sheriff's office said.

"There are several factors at play that make this search problematic, such as the steepness of the terrain, the length of the fall and the fact that Mr. Lewinstein possibly landed in the first pool beneath the falls," said Wayne Stinson, Emergency Management Coordinator. "If he landed in the falls there is a possibility he was washed down to the second pool or even into the North Umpqua River."

Divers cannot search the pools due to dangerous water conditions, the sheriff's office said.

"The search is expected to ramp down after today as searchers are comfortable they have searched all possible ground beneath the falls," the sheriff's office said in a statement.

"A deputy will continue to check the bodies of water where Mr. Lewinstein may be located," said Sgt. Brad O'Dell. "We are working closely with the Lewinstein family and will keep them aprised of our progress. Our hearts go out to them."

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off