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Three Die In Separate Incidents On Same Day

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avatar Three Die In Separate Incidents On Same Day
May 17, 2011 01:11PM
Yosemite National Park (CA)
Three Die In Separate Incidents On Same Day

Yosemite rangers responded to three unrelated fatalities on Friday, May 13th:
  • Kent Butler, 60, of Austin, Texas, was hiking on the Mist Trail to Vernal Fall late that morning when he slipped off the trail and slid down a slab into the Merced River, currently swollen with spring runoff. He was swept downstream several hundred feet and lodged, partially submerged, in the middle of the channel. Butler showed no signs of life. His body was recovered on Saturday via a high line rigged across the river by rangers. This was a highly technical and dangerous rescue operation. The Mist Trail, the most popular in the park, was closed during the incident, but has since reopened.
  • During the above incident, park dispatch received a report of an unresponsive adult male on the Upper Yosemite Fall Trail. Witnesses said that James Dunbar of Berkeley, California, was running down the trail and suffered a head injury. Rangers administered life support but he was pronounced dead at the scene. He was evacuated via a wheeled litter.
  • A resident of Yosemite West, a small community adjacent to the park, died in his sleep due to medical complications. No further details are available.
Scott Jacobs and Jack Hoeflich served as incident commanders for the first two incidents.
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