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UPDATE: Search for California Man Lost at Oregon Falls Begins to 'Ramp Down'

The 23-year-old man reportedly fell down a slope at Toketee Falls after crossing a safety fence to take a picture.

Posted: Aug. 15, 2018 10:21 AM
Updated: Aug. 15, 2018 12:02 PM

CLEARWATER, Ore. —

UPDATE: While the search for 23-year-old Brian Lewinstein continues on Wednesday after he reportedly fell from a cliff above Toketee Falls on Sunday, authorities say that rescue efforts are expected to "ramp down" by the end of the day.

Lewinstein is now presumed dead, according to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office (DCSO), and rescuers believe that he must have fallen into the top pool of the falls.

"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. 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," said Wayne Stinson Emergency Management Coordinator.

DCSO says that divers have been unable to search the pools beneath the falls due to dangerous water conditions.

Searchers are "comfortable that they have searched all possible ground" beneath the falls, and plan begin wrapping up their operations after today.

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

(Updated 8/15/18 at 10:20 a.m.)


INITIAL REPORT: Search and rescue teams are still looking for a California man who reportedly fell down a steep slope near Toketee Falls along the N Umpqua Highway on Sunday.

According to the Douglas County Sheriff's Office (DCSO), 23-year-old Brian Lewinstein of Berkeley crossed a safety fence on Sunday afternoon to take a photograph from above the falls when he slipped and fell down the steep embankment. Someone then called 911 to report the incident.

Emergency crews and members of Pacificorp arrived and began a search and rescue mission, but have yet to recover Lewinstein. DCSO says that incorrect information has been circulating, reporting that Lewinstein was found.

"Given the terrain and factors involved this mission is very complex. Our search volunteers are searching with an utmost sense of urgency, while carefully balancing the needs for responder safety," said Sgt. Brad O'Dell.

Lewinstein's family has been notified, and the search continues.

A Medford woman fell roughly 100 feet and sustained serious injuries at Toketee Falls in June. At the time, authorities reported that she had also gone outside of the safety fencing while on a hike. She was found and borne back up to the trail after a rescue mission that took roughly three hours.

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