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Man Washes Over Vernal Fall

Yosemite National Park

National Park News

On July 30th, Chintan D. Chokshi, a 24-year-old citizen of India residing in Sunnyvale, California, hiked to the top of Vernal Fall with four friends. When Chokshi reached the lookout point at the top of the fall, he crossed through a metal railing, intending to wet his face with river water. The railing is designed to keep visitors back from the swiftly moving water and the wet, river-polished rock near the lip of the waterfall. Signs warning of the danger of going over the falls were in place. After crossing the railing, Chokshi slipped and fell near the edge of the water. He recovered, but then slipped again, this time sliding into the rapidly moving water. He was carried by the current 20 to 30 yards, then went over the lip of the 317-foot waterfall. The incident was witnessed by many people. The river below Vernal Fall is a raging cataract with powerful winds generated by tons of falling water. Minutes after the accident, park dispatch received a 911 cell phone report from a witness. YOSAR responded with shore-based searchers and spotters and established downstream containment observers. The park's fire management helicopter was also used in the search. The search effort continued for three days. Chokshi's body has still not been located as of this report.



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