February 6, 2011
By Dan Corcoran and Stacia Kalinoski
YACHATS, Ore. — Two South Eugene High School teenagers drowned Saturday afternoon, after being swept off a rock just north of Yachats, near the Smelt Sands State Park.
The body of Connor Gregory Ausland, 18, was found Saturday afternoon and that authorities located the remains of 17-year-old Jack Harnsongkram on Sunday morning.
Oregon State Police Sgt. Justin McGladrey says six friends were out walking along the rocky terrain around 12:40 p.m. Witnesses say the teenagers were playing either frisbee or football on the rocks near the Adobe Resort.
Sgt. McGladrey says Ausland and Harnsongkram were standing on one large rock when a 10-foot sneaker wave swept them into the Pacific Ocean.
McGladrey says the four other boys tried to save their friends but then quickly ran for help.
The U.S. Coast Guard, Oregon State Police, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies were called to the scene.
Sgt. McGladrey says the shock of cold water, sharp rocks, and fast-moving waves gives victims almost zero chance of swimming to safety.
“The fact that we have these rocky outcroppings, big boulders, large gaps in the rocks, that type of thing, and second is the ocean, and the height and force of the waves coming in,” he said.
Connor Ausland played basketball at South Eugene High School and was set to graduate this spring.
Both victims were students at South visiting the Yachats area with several fellow students and adults.
Already, so many greiving friends have been posting on the victim’s Facebook pages.
OSO is working with the victims’ families and school administrators to keep them updated on the investigation.
4J school administrators and staff will be helping students and their families during this difficult time.