YOSEMITE – A 14-year-old visitor was seriously injured in Yosemite National Park on Thursday, June 19, when he sustained severe head trauma from a fall.
According to Public Affairs Officer Kari Cobb, the boy, who is from Fontana, Calif., was on a day trip to Yosemite Valley and was scrambling at the base of Lower Yosemite Fall with family members shortly after 2 p.m.
The teenager fell from a large boulder, slipped about 20 feet down the side of the rock, and dropped into a small “cave” formed in the talus field, which is rock debris that has accumulated at the base of the cliff.
Yosemite Emergency Communications Center quickly dispatched rangers after receiving multiple 911 calls from witnesses immediately after the accident.
Yosemite Valley rangers Mike Hastings, Scott Jacobs, Aaron Smith, Loren Fazio, Kevin Davis, Philip Johnson, and field trainee Matthew Payton all responded to the scene.
“Finding the teen unresponsive and unconscious, responders decided to initiate a quick extrication via short-haul,” says Cobb. A short-haul involves moving someone suspended from ropes or cables from the location of the rescue to a place where they can be safely delivered, in this case, to another form of transport.
The park’s contract helicopter, 551, flew to the site. Ranger David Pope, who arrived on scene shortly after initial responders, was then short-hauled with the boy to the Ahwahnee Meadow where the patient was transferred to a waiting air medical helicopter for transport to a local hospital.
Yosemite Valley Law Enforcement Ranger Ed Visnovske was the incident commander.