Boy dies, brother missing after being swept down Yosemite river

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 16, 2012 4:21 PM
Boy dies, brother missing after being swept down Yosemite river

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 10-year-old boy has been killed and his 6-year-old brother was missing and presumed dead on Thursday after they were both swept down a fast-moving river in Yosemite National Park, a park spokesman said.

The two boys were wading in the Merced River during a hike with other members of their family on Wednesday afternoon when they were carried off by a strong current, Yosemite spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.

The 10-year-old was pulled from the river about 150 yards downstream by a park visitor, who attempted cardiopulmonary resuscitation until rangers arrived and took over, Cobb said.

"The rangers continued that effort for a very long time and pronounced him dead after they could not get a heartbeat back," she said.

Other park rangers began an immediate search for the younger boy but he has not been spotted.

"At this point it's presumed that he is dead. We are searching an eight-mile portion of the river," Cobb said, an operation that has included climbing on boulders and sending divers into deeper water.

Yosemite did not release the names of the two boys or their family members. Cobb said the Merced was running "extremely low" at the end of summer but that the boys were wading in one of the roughest parts of the river with swift currents, large boulders and sharp changes in elevation.

She said the park does not restrict visitors entering the water in that stretch.

The boys had gone into the river after hiking about a mile along the park's popular Mist Trail, which climbs some 1,000 feet alongside the raging water to Vernal Fall, stopping with family members at a footbridge.

Last summer three friends plunged to their deaths over the 317-foot Vernal Fall after ignoring warning signs against wading into the Merced. In that case one of the bodies was not found for nearly five months.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Carol Bishopric)