April 20, 2013

Yosemite Death Averted at Vernal Falls

The Deadly Vernal Falls in Yosemite Valley
In 2012, three people died when carried over and down the 300 foot Vernal Falls in Yosemite Valley. In 2013, with the Yosemite camping and hiking season just beginning, this number is zero as of the date of this writing thanks to action taken on April 14 by Alec Smith, a 16 year old San Jose high school student.

From a story posted at Fox 26 kmph-kfre:

Smith said he and his family saw the boy being dragged along the fast-moving Merced River. That's when Smith said he made a split-second decision.
"When I reached him, he reached me he looked up at me with like the craziest look in his eye like just please help me,"recalled Smith who jumped over a fence to rescue the boy. "I held out my hand at the same time he grabbed my hand and . . . he didn't really say anything. I just grabbed his hand and pulled him out."
Smith said the boy began to shake after he pulled him to safety. Smith says his uncle gave the boy a poncho and other dry clothes to wear. "He came up to me with his head held down he was just like thank you for saving my life you know," Smith said. "That hit me when he said that." It was a close call for the 9-year-old boy. Last year, three people died after being swept away by the river's rapids. Smith says that he was happy he was in the right place at the right time.