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Home National & State Parks Yosemite Visitor Swept Over Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park

Visitor Swept Over Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park

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In what may prove to be the first water fatality for 2013 at Yosemite National Park in California, a man was swept over Nevada Fall on Saturday, and search and rescue teams on Sunday were still trying to find the man.

At approximately 2:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 1, a visitor was witnessed being swept over the precipice of Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park. Aleh Kalman, a 19-year-old male from Sacramento, Calif., came to the park with a church group and was hiking the Mist Trail when the accident occurred.

nevadafall_0781Kalman was witnessed swimming above Nevada Fall, approximately 150 feet from the precipice, when he was swept away by the current. Witnesses reported to park officials that he was swimming back from a rock in the middle of the river when the current swept him downstream to the edge of the waterfall.

Ground teams, along with a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter, were immediately dispatched to the location of the waterfall to begin searching for Kalman. Search efforts continued throughout Saturday evening until fading light prevented further efforts.

On Saturday afternoon the Merced River, which feeds the 594-foot waterfall, was flowing at approximately 500 cubic feet per second (CFS), which represents a very swift and powerful spring flow of water. On Sunday, the river was flowing at approximately 650 CFS with water temperatures in the low 50s. Water levels and temperatures are expected to remain relatively the same throughout the week, rangers said on June 2, 2013.

The Mist Trail, from the footbridge above Emerald Pool to the top of Nevada Fall, is temporarily closed at this time in order for ground teams to continue searching the area below the waterfall.

Yosemite National Park rangers will continue search efforts throughout Sunday. These efforts consist primarily of combing each side of the Merced River looking for the victim. Three dog teams and approximately 20 ground Search and Rescue (SAR) personnel are searching the area for any signs of Kalman.

Visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution around all water areas in Yosemite National Park. Although the park received only 50 percent of normal snow pack, rivers within the park continue to run at high levels this time of the year, rangers said. Additionally, the water remains extremely cold and will remain cold throughout the year.

No further information was available as of Sunday afternoon. Rangers said they would provide more details as information becomes available.

 
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