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Two Youths Swept Down Merced River Below Vernal Fall Footbridge In Yosemite National Park, One Confirmed Dead


One young boy is dead and another missing in Yosemite National Park, where the two were swept down the Merced River below the Vernal Fall Footbridge.

Park officials say the two boys -- a 10-year-old and 6-year-old -- were on a hike with their family when they stopped near the footbridge on Wednesday afternoon.

The family, from southern California, had begun their hike at the Happy Isles Trailhead and hiked approximately one mile, where they stopped at the footbridge, a park release said.

"The group was in the river and the two boys were swept away by the current. Approximately 150 yards down river, the 10-year-old boy was pulled from the river and CPR was initiated by a park visitor," the release stated. "Yosemite National Park rangers continued resuscitation efforts, which were unsuccessful, and the boy was pronounced dead."

While those efforts were ongoing, other rangers began looking for the 6-year-old in the Merced River between the Vernal Fall Footbridge and Happy Isles. Search efforts for the boy were continuing Thursday morning, the park reported.

The Mist Trail remains open during search-and-rescue operations. Portions of the trail may close throughout the day to accommodations the search. The names of the victims will not be released.

It was a little more than a year ago when three young adults were swept down Vernal Fall. The area where the three were swept away on July 19, 2011, is signed as a dangerous area, and the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep visitors away from the fast-moving water. Two of the bodies weren't recovered for nearly five months.


The title of this article is misleading because the footbridge is downstream from the waterfall. The water flows very fast over boulders in this area. Every year people are swept to their deaths above and below waterfalls in Yosemite. In this case either the parents or guardians allowed the children to wade into a raging river or they were not watching their children closely.

Thanks. Noted and corrected.

This is just so sad, especially since it seems like it could have been averted by using common sense.

Even in a dry year like this one, the river is dangerous. The Park Service has placed many signs warning of the danger in plain terms. Sadly, someone was not watching out for these children.

The book Death in Yosemite should be mandatory reading for all visitors to YNP. My family has been visited every year for the past 40, andI have witnessed such dangerous acts. It is aazing the these types of death don't occur more often.

Another preventable senseless Yosemite tragedy.

I wish visitors would be more aware of their surroundings and would read the signs which are (I assume) placed at easy access points. The Merced River has claimed more lives in Yosemite than all of the park's numerous waterfalls and is easily the most dangerous part of the park. The deceptively calm surface of the river and presence of areas where it is safe to swim can certainly be cited as factors in this tragedy.

Hope the family pulls through this and do not look at the National Parks as places to be avoided.

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