Yosemite hiker swept over 594-foot waterfall
Searchers have closed Yosemite’s Mist Trail while they search for a 19-year-old Sacramento man who was swept over Nevada Fall while swimming in the Merced River.
Aleh Kalman was part of a church group that was hiking the trail. He was seen swimming about 150 feet from the precipice at about 2:45 p.m. Saturday. Witnesses told rangers that Kalman was swimming back from a rock in the middle of the river when the current swept him downstream to the edge of the waterfall.
Ground searchers, along with a California Highway Patrol helicopter, were dispatched to the location of the waterfall to begin searching for Kalman. Search efforts continued throughout the evening until fading light prevented further efforts.
On Saturday, the Merced River which feeds the 594-foot waterfall, was flowing at approximately 500 cubic feet per second, which represents a very swift and powerful spring flow of water. Currently, the river is flowing at approximately 650 cubic feet per second with water temperature in the low 50s. Water levels and temperatures are expected to remain relatively the same throughout the week.
Yosemite National Park Rangers continued searching today, combing each side of the Merced River looking for the victim. Three dog teams and approximately 20 ground Search and Rescue personnel are searching the area for any signs of Kalman.
Rangers urged visitors to exercise extreme caution around all water in Yosemite National Park. Although the park received only 50 percent of normal snow pack, rivers within the park continue to run at high levels this time of the year. Additionally, the water remains extremely cold and will be throughout the year.
No further information is available at this time.