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Missing Hiker Found Dead Near Yosemite’s Vernal Fall

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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 (CBS/AP) – A hiker who went missing in Yosemite National Park has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff, authorities said.

Rangers found the body of 73-year-old Kenneth Stensby of Edina, Minn., near the base of the park’s Vernal Fall, where he had apparently fallen after stopping to take a photo, park officials said. Search crews had found his backpack on Sunday at the top of the waterfall. His camera was not in the pack.

His body was removed from the area around 1 p.m. Tuesday, a day after it was spotted from the air, according to park officials.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Stensby was president and chief executive officer of United Properties, a Minneapolis-based real estate company, from 1974 until taking early retirement in January 1995

Stensby had been in the park for several days and was staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel, park officials said. He left a note with the concierge each morning outlining his daily plan.

On Sunday, his note stated that he was planning to hike to the top of Vernal Fall on the Mist Trail and return to the hotel around noon, according to park officials.

Hotel staff attempted to contact Stensby around 5:00 p.m. that evening, and discovered he had not returned. They then contacted the National Park Service.

The search effort included dogs and a California Highway Patrol helicopter.

Three young tourists were swept over Vernal Fall in 2011 after one of them slipped on a rock. Her two friends fell while trying to save her.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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