Skip to main content

Are you a legal professional? Visit our professional site

Search for legal issues
For help near (city, ZIP code or county)
Please enter a legal issue and/or a location

Yosemite Deaths: Boy, 10, Drowns in Merced River

Article Placeholder Image
By Andrew Lu on August 20, 2012 12:43 PM

Another Yosemite death has hit the famous but dangerous national park. A ten-year-old boy drowned after reportedly being pulled into the Merced River. The search is still on for his six-year-old brother, now presumed to be dead as well.

National Park Service officials said Andres "Andy" Adams died and his brother Jacob was presumed dead, though the search continued, the Associated Press reports. Their mother Char-Lee Hargis Adams of Yorba Linda was hurt trying to save them.

The ten-year-old is the third drowning victim of the year at Yosemite National Park. It's the second time in just over a year that a tragedy has befallen members of a church during an outing to the deceptively treacherous Merced River. This drowning follows the drowning of three people at a nearby spot along the same trail last year, reports CNN.

The accident happened along the Mist Trail leading up to Vernal Fall. The trail is popular among tourists as it can be user friendly and offers spectacular views. As a California family walked the trail, the two young victims took a break too close to the Merced River, where they were swept in.

As the Yosemite death toll mounts, some may be wondering whether the national park could be held liable for the deaths.

There are certainly some arguments that favor holding the national park liable for accidents and deaths along its popular and demarcated trails. Hundreds of thousands of tourists visit the park and many are completely unprepared for the wilds of Yosemite. Yet, one could claim that the park should better warn visitors about the dangers of known popular trails like the Mist Trail. This is especially true given the history of deadly accidents.

On the other hand, there may be more arguments as to why the national park should not be held liable for the Yosemite deaths. Chiefly, the national park is wild, and waterways and waterfalls, while spectacular, can be dangerous.

Yosemite deaths, especially those that involve young children are sad. However, a large part of the allure of Yosemite is that one is out in nature -- including all the dangers of the natural world.

Related Resources:

Find a Lawyer

More Options