Fifteen hundred people a day make the hike up to the top of Vernal Fall, in Yosemite National Park. Yesterday, about a dozen people had entered the river above Vernal Fall, posing for pictures. Three companions were posing on rocks when one after the other, all three slipped into the river and ultimately over the waterfall.
According to witnesses, first one of the men started to slip over the fall the second man tried to rescue him and he too got caught up in the current then the woman, who tried to grab the two men got swept away also falling more than 300 feet. A Yosemite Spokesman stated that to be swept over the precipice at Vernal Falls is not survivable, and so three are presumed dead at this time. All three victims were in their twenties.
Park rangers say the area is well posted with danger signs. But the signs and warnings were ignored. So far this year, six people have died in drowning accidents in Yosemite.
In Colorado, 91% of drowning deaths are a direct result of water recreation such as skiing, diving, swimming and playing in or near irrigation ditches, lakes, and rivers. Children ages 0-4 years have the highest rate of death and hospitalization due to drowning and account for one-fifth of all drowning deaths in Colorado. On average, 46 Coloradoans die each year from drowning and 38 Coloradoans are hospitalized from near drowning events.
Nearly 80 percent of drowning victims are male, perhaps suggesting a inclination to risk-taking. But no one should assume the risks of water that has been clearly marked as unsafe or dangerous.