Yosemite search and rescue team getting ready for busy weekend

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As Yosemite National Park rangers expect thousands of visitors this coming weekend, search and rescue crews are training to be ready to respond. (KFSN)

As Yosemite National Park rangers expect thousands of visitors this coming weekend, search and rescue crews are training to be ready to respond both on land and in the water.

Yosemite Search and Rescue Coordinator Moose Mutlow said the rescues come with the rising temperatures, "People get encouraged to cool off. You can expect two to three incidents this weekend with water."

More than a dozen park rangers dived into the Merced River for their annual swift water training. They practiced everything from rescuing a victim to recovering a body.

With the warming weather, Mutlow said the team needs to be ready.

"We run about 220 missions a year in the park. At this time of the year, you can expect half a dozen water incidents. You could also have one or two incidents happening at once."



Park rangers said it's the people who don't plan on going in the water who often become the victims.

"It's not the individuals who are already swimming or rafting. It's someone who's hiking along the trail, you come down to water's edge, you lose your footing, you fall in the river," said ranger Jaime Richards.

With a busy season ahead, park officials ask visitors to not only be cautious near water but also on trails.

On Monday, 29-year-old hiker Asish Penugona died after falling off the Half Dome cables.

Park rangers encourage visitors to know their limits. "We're still investigating; we don't know what happened in that situation, but pay attention to the weather, pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention to your footing," Richards said.

First responders said it could take hours before a search and rescue team can respond to an incident.

Since this is the peak season for water rescues, park rangers ask that people stay a body's length away from the edge of the river.
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yosemite national parksearch and rescuememorial dayYosemite National Park
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