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Body of missing 6-year-old boy pulled from river in Yosemite

August 23, 2012 |  3:36 pm

Yosemite National Park
The body of a 6-year-old boy, who with his 10-year-old brother was swept down the Merced River in Yosemite National Park last week was recovered Thursday, park officials said.

A park ranger spotted the body of Jacob Adams on Thursday morning caught among boulders about 50 yards downstream from the Vernal Fall foot bridge, where the boys were caught in the deadly current, said park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.

Crews used a technical rescue technique to lower a ranger between the rocks and removed the body about noon.

Jacob and his brother, Andres Adams, were camping in the foothills south of Yosemite last week as part of a weeklong outing with other members of the Calvary Chapel East Anaheim. While most parishioners opted to spend Aug. 15 at Bass Lake, the boys -- along with their mother, father and another brother -- headed to Yosemite for the day, Pastor Bob Kopeny wrote in a statement posted on the church's website. 

As they hiked the park's popular Mist Trail, the family decided to cool off in the river, park officials said. The boys were wading when the current carried them away.

Andres was pulled from the water about 150 yards away and was pronounced dead after resuscitation efforts failed, officials said.

A search began immediately for Jacob in a tough, mile-long stretch of the Merced dotted with massive boulders and small waterfalls. Crews combed the riverbanks daily but rain last week meant the water was moving higher and faster, Cobb said, making it difficult for searchers to scour the riverbed.

But as the water level dropped Thursday, Cobb said, officials intended to take advantage of the break and brought in additional searchers.

Last summer, a swollen Merced hampered efforts to find the bodies of three Central California friends who were swept over the 317-foot Vernal Fall itself. The last of those bodies were recovered in winter.

"With any fatality in the park, we always want to provide closure in any way we can," Cobb said. "This is definitely just something we always want to give the family to help with the healing process."


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Photo: The body of a 6-year-old boy was pulled from the Merced River in Yosemite. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times