Young Brothers Swept Away in Yosemite River

Boy, 10, dead; 6-year-old presumed dead
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 17, 2012 8:17 AM CDT
Young Brothers Swept Away in Yosemite River
In this July 20, 2011 file photo, a hiker takes a photo from the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite Wednesday July 20, 2011.   (Gosia Wozniacka)

More tragedy in Yosemite: Authorities were searching a stretch of the Merced River for a 6-year-old boy after his older brother died when a current swept them away during a family outing in the national park. The boy is presumed dead. Other hikers pulled the body of his 10-year-old brother about 150 yards downstream from where family members had waded into the river to cool off Wednesday. Their mother "went into the river but made it out," a park spokesperson says. She was hospitalized with a back injury after being pulled to safety.

The Southern California family was hiking near the Vernal Fall Footbridge, a vantage point on the Mist Trail where Vernal Fall first comes into view. That portion of the hike can be perilous. The river falls 317 feet straight down to a narrow gorge filled with boulders the size of cars, then descends another 400 feet by the time it reaches the bridge. The drop in elevation and narrow channel cause the water to move swiftly, and last summer three Central California friends cooling off in a pool above the fall were swept to their deaths. Two of their bodies were discovered months later lodged under boulders near the site where the 10-year-old boy was found. (Yosemite was linked to another recent tragedy when two people became seriously ill from a rare rodent-borne disease, and one died.)

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