14-Yr-Old Girl Drowned at Sequoia National Park

July 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
After searching for more than 16 hours rangers and emergency personnel found the body of a 14 year old girl in the river. She's the second drowning victim found in this area in a 48 hour period.Large wooden doors can be seen stuck in the pathway of the river here near the Hospital Rock picnic area at Sequoia National Park. Rescuers put those doors there in an effort to try and block the fast moving current so they could search the area under this large rock. Under that rock is where a 14-year old girl was found after she had been playing there with her family on Sunday night.

Sequoia National Park Spokesperson Malinee Crapsey said, "She'd been swimming and had a floatation tube of some sort but had gotten caught in a current and got swept into some rocks."

The girl went under at around 8:00 p.m. Sunday night but wasn't found until just before 1:00 p.m. Monday afternoon.

"It's a very dangerous spot all the water in the river narrows down to one place and the currents are really strong," said Crapsey.

Crapsey says search and rescue crews moved away any rocks they could in the area to get to the girl. The 14-year old is the second young teenage girl to drown in the Hospital Rock area in just 48 hours. On Saturday, a 13-year old Tulare girl drowned after getting caught in the fast moving current. Local visitors who came to swim in the park's rivers on Monday said they still felt safe swimming near the rocks.

Kealohi Young said, "Yeah I fell pretty safe because it's always shallow and every time I feel its deep I always go back to the shallow end."

Sal Acevez said, "We love the water it's so cool and the heat right now just called for another swim you know."

Sal Acevez went swimming in the Hospital Rock area on Sunday. He came back to swim on Monday but was turned away because of the girl's drowning.

"That's really unpleasant to hear that I guess one of the recommendations is to be careful the rocks are very slippery," said Acevez.

For now park rangers have closed off the trail leading to the area of the river where the girl drowned. They're warning visitors the rivers can be some of the most dangerous areas in the park.

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