Authorities Searching for Group Apparently Caught on Video Toppling Iconic Duckbill Rock Formation in Oregon

The feature was made of sandstone over 18 million years old.

September 6, 2016, 12:32 PM

— -- Authorities are searching for people recently caught on video appearing to topple an iconic natural sandstone formation along Oregon's northern coast.

The rock feature, known as the Duckbill, was first found in shambles last week in Pacific City, according to Oregon Parks and Recreation Associate Director Chris Havel. The formation was a part of Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.

State officials initially believed the rock fell naturally, but they later became aware of a video online apparently showing a group of people pushing over the formation, he told ABC News today.

The video was recorded by David Kalas, ABC Portland affiliate KATU-TV reported.

PHOTO: This photo provided by Chelsea Rutherford shows a natural rock formation in Oct. 2008, at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area which is a state park in Pacific City, Oregon.
This photo provided by Chelsea Rutherford shows a natural rock formation in Oct. 2008, at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area which is a state park in Pacific City, Oregon.
Chelsea Rutherford/KATU News via AP

Kalas was helping a friend record the coast with a drone when he noticed a group of people trying to push over the rock pedestal, he told KATU.

At first, Kalas said, he laughed to himself because he "thought there was no way that they could knock it down," but then he saw the formation start "wobbling."

He managed to get his phone out just in time to catch the moment the group apparently toppled the sandstone feature.

"I asked them, you know, why they knocked the rock down, and the reply I got was their buddy broke their leg earlier because of that rock," Kalas told KATU. "They basically told me themselves that it was a safety hazard and that they did the world or Oregon a favor."

The group also stood on top of the crumbled sandstone and snapped a few pictures before leaving, he said. He added that he did not know who the alleged vandals were or catch their names, but he hopes his video will help catch them.

"I just want them to learn a lesson," he said, "because if they do this here, they will probably do it elsewhere."

ABC News was unable to reach Kalas.

Havel said Oregon Parks and Recreation and state police have launched an investigation into the incident.

He said that the sandstone in the area has been around for over 18 million years and that the formation was possibly "thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands years old."

"I also think the bigger message here is that everyone who has ever crossed the safety fence and walked on the rock played a role in advancing the demise of this natural feature," Havel said.

He added, "We hope that this story will remind everyone to be more mindful when visiting any park, not just this one."

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