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2 Boys Swept Away, Killed In Merced River At Yosemite National Park

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Vernal Falls, Yosemite National Park

The top of Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park as seen from the Mist Trail. (NPS)

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (KCBS) – Two boys died after they were swept away in the waters of the Merced River at Yosemite National Park on Wednesday.

The boys, ages 10 and 6, waded into the river with other family members at the Vernal Fall Footbridge around 3 p.m., said Ranger Kari Cobb.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

The boys “were swept away in a current and roughly about 150 yards down the river. The 10-year-old boy was pulled from the river by visitors within the area,” Cobb said.

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His rescuers performed CPR but could not revive the boy, Cobb said.

Even though the other boy’s body has not been recovered, park officials do not believe he survived.

“It is presumed that the 6-year-old boy is dead. He has not been seen since he went in the river. Witnesses saw him go in the water and did not see him surface again,” Cobb said.

The boys’ family began their hike at the Happy Isle Trailhead and walked in for about a mile before stopping at the footbridge, which Cobb notes is a good distance away from the water.

“The trail itself is up from the river,” she said, adding that most fatalities there happened when visitors strayed from the trail.

The National Park Service has not released the names of the victims.

Yosemite has seen a number of deadly water accidents in the past year. Last year, three of the six people who drowned in the park were swept over Vernal Fall, a popular spot to cool off that holds danger because of the rocks and debris.

KCBS and Chronicle Outdoors Editor Tom Stienstra:

Cobb said two others have drowned in the park this year prior to this latest incident.

Park officials said the Mist Trail would remain open during search and rescue operations but portions may close depending upon developments.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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