Search for Yosemite waterfall victim halted temporarily

Two accidents in two days at Yosemite
Two accidents in two days at Yosemite

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    Two accidents in two days at Yosemite

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Two accidents in two days at Yosemite 02:42

Story highlights

  • Search for body of 19-year-old called off due to high water
  • Officials also say climber on famed El Capitan was killed Sunday by rock
  • Swimmer Aleh Kalman has been missing since he was carried over 594-foot Nevada Fall
  • "We believe it's impossible to survive a fall like that," a park spokeswoman says
Park rangers suspended their search Monday afternoon for a teenage swimmer who was swept over a nearly 600-foot waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park over the weekend.
Aleh Kalman had been swimming about 150 feet from the edge of the Nevada Fall on Saturday afternoon when he was caught up in the swift current of the Merced River, the National Park Service reported. The 19-year-old Sacramento resident had gone to the park with a church group, the park service said.
"We believe it's impossible to survive a fall like that," park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said.
Swimming above the 594-foot Nevada Fall is not illegal, but the river is marked by signs warning of the danger, Cobb said.
Water levels were too high to search safely Monday, Scott Gediman with the Yosemite National Park Service said.
Teen swept over Yosemite waterfall
Teen swept over Yosemite waterfall

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    Teen swept over Yosemite waterfall

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Teen swept over Yosemite waterfall 01:06
Officials also announced Monday that a 28-year-old English climber on El Capitan was killed by a falling rock on Sunday. Felix Kiernan of London was about 600 feet up a climbing route when a large rock fell 150 feet and hit him. When rangers reached him a few hours later, he was already dead.
Searchers looked for Kalman on foot and by helicopter on Saturday but had to stop at nightfall. The grim task resumed Sunday, aided by three dog teams, the park service said.
The Merced River was running about 500 cubic feet per second on Saturday, "a very swift and powerful spring flow of water," the park service noted in a written statement. That had gone up to about 650 cubic feet per second on Sunday.
"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," the service said. "Additionally, the water remains extremely cold and will be throughout the year."
Three other people were swept over another Merced River waterfall, the 317-foot Vernal Fall, in 2011.
Yosemite is about 200 miles east of San Francisco.