Scott Graves
Curry Coastal Pilot
Jane Stebbins
Curry Coastal Pilot

A day of fishing with friends turned tragic Tuesday afternoon for a 15-year-old Brookings boy whose body was found on ocean rocks south of Chetco Point.

Authorities believe Dylan Speir slipped and fell while climbing on a sea cliff at the end of Tanbark Road. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew retrieved his body that evening.

The community is mourning the death of the teen, a local thespian and versatile athlete who coached his brother’s basketball team, worked at Vista Pub, ran his own lawn service, recently started driving a car and loved to fish with his family and friends.

“He was a good friend, really nice to all the people he met, no matter how he was treated,” said Speir’s friend Everett VanMaren.

A public memorial service and reception is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday at Church of the Nazarene, 1600 Chetco Ave., in Brookings. A memorial balloon release will stake place at 7 p.m. Monday at the Brookings-Harbor High School baseball field.

“The outpouring of support has been overwhelming,” Dylan’s mother, Brandy, said Friday. “Dylan touched so many people’s lives.” She encouraged people to write down thoughts and messages about Dylan and share them with her at the memorial.

Tragedy strikes

According to the family, Speir and two friends grabbed their fishing poles late Tuesday morning and climbed down a cliff to the rocky coastline between Chetco Point and the end of Tanbark Road.

When they were done fishing, at about 1 p.m., two of the boys took one path up the cliff to return home, while Dylan took another.

Later that afternoon, Brandy became worried about her son after the mother of the other boys called her and said Dylan wasn’t with them. She and her husband, Joe, asked the two boys to show him where they last saw Dylan.

At about 5:15 p.m., Joe was scouring the rocks when he found his son in the water at the base of the cliff and pulled the boy onto a rock. He began CPR while someone called 911.

A Brookings police officer and Brookings firefighters responded, and members of the Curry County’s Search and Rescue team and the U.S. Coast Guard were called in.

The cliff and rocky area below Tanbark Road is difficult to access, as there are no trails leading down from the oceanfront homes to the beach below, and it is a fair distance from the nearest access at Mill Beach to the north.

About 40 minutes after Dylan was found, however, the rescue operation was shifted to recovery mode when authorities determined the boy had died.

Rather than send search and rescue members down the cliff to retrieve his body, authorities enlisted the help of the U.S. Coast helicopter from North Bend Air Station, which arrived at 7 p.m.

A Coast Guard rescue swimmer was lowered to the rocks and secured the body in a basket that was hoisted into the helicopter and flown to the Brookings Airport.