Search On Hold For Teen Swept Over Yosemite Waterfall

By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran
By: CBS News, Posted by Chelsey Moran

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CALIF. The search for a teen swept over Nevada Fall in Yosemite National Park is on hold until water levels in the Merced River subside.

Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said Monday that rangers on regular patrol continue to keep an eye on the stretch of river below the base of the 594-foot fall. But they will not be walking the banks.

Nineteen-year-old Aleh Kalman of Sacramento was carried by swift currents over the fall on Saturday after stopping to swim in the river. Kalman was among a group of 85 people from various churches hiking the route that leads to Half Dome.

Cobb says Kalman has been missing since witnesses reported seeing him get pulled to the Nevada Fall Saturday afternoon.

A search team assisted by a California Highway Patrol helicopter spent the rest of Saturday unsuccessfully looking for him, suspended the search when it got dark and then picked it up again Sunday morning. But one Yosemite ranger told CBS Fresno, Calif. affiliate KPGE-TV, "We do believe that it is impossible to survive a fall like that."

Cobb says the river's current was moving very quickly, with a temperature in the low 50s, when Kalman disappeared.

Family, friends and a tight-knit religious community are devastated, but still holding onto hope.

"All we can do right now is pray, just hope for the best. It's all in God's hands right now," Bogdan Pishtoy, a friend of Kalman's, told CBS Sacramento station KOVR-TV.

The amount of snowmelt fueling the flow has since increased. Cobb said rangers will renew the active search when the river subsides.

The trail has been reopened.

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