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6-year-old boy swept into Yosemite river feared dead

Site where boys were swept away in Yosemite

This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom.

Officials continued to search for a boy swept down the Merced River in Yosemite this week.

A weeklong church outing turned tragic when two brothers — one 10, the other 6 — waded into the river and were swept away. The body of the older brother, Andres Adams, was found a short time later, and he was pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts failed. The younger boy, Jacob, has not been found, but is believed to be dead although the search continues.

"It's just terribly sad," said Assistant Pastor Maury Evans of Calvary Chapel East Anaheim. "There's just a lot of grieving here."

As the search continued Friday on a mile-long stretch of the Merced, where the waters cascade over boulders and tumble down small waterfalls, the church's Facebook page filled with prayers and hopeful thoughts. Some said they held out hope the younger boy would be found alive. Others wished the family well.

Tragedy and misadventure are nothing new at Yosemite, where the raw beauty draws millions of visitors each year. Last summer, three young people from a Modesto church died when they splashed into the water near Vernal Fall and were swept over the 317-foot drop.

They were among 18 people killed at the park last year, a record.

The Orange County boys, along with their mother, father and an older brother, were among the parishioners who attended the church's family outing at Sugar Pine Christian Camps in the foothills south of Yosemite. While many of the church members spent Wednesday at Bass Lake, the boy's family headed off for a day at Yosemite, Bob Kopeny, the pastor at Calvary Chapel, said in a statement posted on the church's website.

As they hiked along the Merced River, the boys decided to cool off in the water once they reached the Vernal Fall footbridge, the National Park Service said. But they were overpowered by the turbulent water.

The boys' mother, Char Adams, and an older brother tried to rescue the children, but the efforts failed. The mother and the older brother were injured during the rescue effort and were hospitalized.

"We are asking for prayers for Jacob to be found soon so the family can have some measure of closure and focus on beginning the healing both physically and emotionally," Kopeny wrote in a message on the church's website.

Evans, the assistant pastor, said Char Adams and her husband had recently married and were a blended family that attended the church.

Janice Reish, the grandmother of Char Adams' older children from a previous marriage, called her former daughter-in-law an "excellent mother."

"She was very protective of her children," Reish said.

[Updated Saturday, 12:20 p.m.: An earlier post misidentified the older boy as Andrew Adams. His name is Andres, nickname "Andy", Adams.]

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Photo: A National Park Service photo of the Merced River shows where Andrew and Jacob Adams were wading before being swept away. (National Park Service / August 16, 2012)

 
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