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Search and Rescue in Progress on Merced River

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Date: August 16, 2012

One Fatality and One Missing Minor Near Vernal Fall Footbridge

A ten year old boy was pronounced dead and a six year old boy remains missing following an incident near the Vernal Fall Footbridge in Yosemite National Park yesterday.  

A family group, from southern California, were in the Merced River near the Vernal Fall Footbridge yesterday afternoon around 3:00 p.m. They had begun their hike at the Happy Isles Trailhead and hiked approximately one mile, where they stopped at the footbridge. The group was in the river and the two boys were swept away by the current. Approximately 150 yards downriver, the ten year old boy was pulled from the river and CPR was initiated by a park visitor. Yosemite National Park Rangers continued resuscitation efforts, which were unsuccessful, and the boy was pronounced dead.  

The park simultaneously initiated an intensive search for the six year old boy in the Merced River between the Vernal Fall Footbridge and Happy Isles. Search efforts for the boy are continuing at this time.  

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

Did You Know?

Vernal and Nevada Falls

In Yosemite Valley, dropping over 594-foot Nevada Fall and then 317-foot Vernal Fall, the Merced River creates what is known as the “Giant Staircase.” Such exemplary stair-step river morphology is characterized by a large variability in river movement and flow, from quiet pools to the dramatic drops of the waterfalls themselves.