Two Swept Away On Yosemite Footbridge

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (CBS13) — Two men drowned Wednesday morning after they were swept off a bridge by high water levels, authorities said.

The two men were crossing the Wapama Falls Footbridge near the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir at about 8:30 a.m. when water was flowing over the bridge, and the current pulled both men off the bridge.

Search and rescue crews said the men drowned in the reservoir.

The identities of the men have not been released pending notification of their families.

The footbridge provides a close vantage point to the Wapama Falls, but in years that see a heavy snowpack followed by hot temperatures, fast snow melt can raise water levels until the current actually flows over part of the bridge.

  • Deb in Sac

    I will never understand why people think they can get one over on mother Nature. My heart goes out to their families.

  • serously

    Deb in Sac, A very in appropriate comment for you don’t know the people involved. These people were dedicated healthcare providers who saved lives every day. It is a tragic day for the famiiles and there coworkers because we are all a family. It a tragedy. Next time think before you comment.

  • They should think

    Dont you think they should if did the thinking before they decided to try and walk across a bridge that has running water over it .

  • mistakeshappen

    Well “seriously” Deb has every right to her comment I do not think it is inappropriate at all. It does not matter what their profession was they should have really known better of all people if that is the case, as a frequent Yosemite visitor I can not imagine ANYONE going over that bride while water was rushing over it. It is horrible to lose a family member no matter what causes the death. God comfort the loved ones

    • Jesse

      Why do peole feel they have right to say things negative at all in situations like this? I think that their profession does matter. They saved lives everyday and it is foolish for anyone to say, they should have known better. They were amazing people who deserve to be honored. It has been said “think before you speak” and we should all take heed to this quote. The only words that should be spoken are those of comfort and may God place his hand on the hearts and lives of those who have lost their families.

      • jahgreen

        So if they were dishwashers it would be different? THAT’s an inappropriate comment.

  • Kim

    This is truly tragic and I am deeply saddened.
    These two incredible men were my friends and at this point I really don’t care how this happened but rather how I can now be of service to their wives, children and families.
    Our hospital family is grieving, the tears are flowing, but I’m sure that not one person in the ER quit taking care of any of their patients today.
    Let me be mindful that there are lives that will never be the same and lives who were saved by these amazing doctors for many years. I will be forever grateful for my friendship with them.
    To the families, comfort and peace.

  • Doyour jobclosethatbridgeaccess

    Well Jesse If they HAD known better they would be alive now wouldn’t they. It should be said that one should think before crossing over a dangerous bridge when water is gushing over it. The “Rangers” should have closed access to the bridge or posted warnings so that an accident like this would not happen, but in the end we are all resposible for our own actions. You however are the worst kind of hypocrite, you are using this forum and their tragic death to criticize other posters, here is another quote just for YOU “think before you type”. you should take heed to this quote Bye the way you have the right to say negative things about others and you have done just that. They were human beings not GODS and now they are with God. I just hope that they will be found soon for their families sake.

  • Rick

    These were friends of C-Mex. She called me this morning to tell me about it. These two men were doctors. She is good friends with the wife of one of them. She, thank God, was rescued. They have twin daughters. Sad.

  • Cathie

    So sad. That is why these happenings are called accidents. No one wants to die…think before a cruel comment is made. May they rest in peace and their families remember all the beautiful memories they shared.

  • Given Pause

    My thoughts go out to the family and loved ones of these men. I’m a backcountry hiker and although I imagine myself cautious I’ve never been faced with this situation. I can imagine the pressure I might feel to try something contrary to the doubt in my head if I faced a two day delay if I chose to turn around. These men sound dedicated to their jobs and im sure they like many people faced the pressures of our high paced stressful workplaces. I mourn their loss and will take head of the lesson here. I am not immune from disaster and bad judgement and two days and a reprimand (although one hopes understanding and support instead) is worth my life. If I do face this situation, I will be mindful of these men. I also wish the bridge had been closed or warnings posted by nps- they have the clearer judgment and expertise. Again my condolences.

  • mtblakeney

    Yosemite has hundreds of signs protecting bears, however, there are very few warning signs in dangerous places like Half Dome, the Mist Trail, etc. My condolences to family and friends.

  • Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

    Mtblakeny, really? Signs? Just how many signs need to be posted to warn of obvious danger. Don’t feed the bears, it’s done anyway. Climb at your own risk, done anyway. Danger no swimming, swimmer drowns. If we honestly post a sign for every thing common sense tells you NOT to do, then why not just close up the park because you’ll not be able to see it for the SIGNS.

  • justneverknow

    sign,sign if you have ever been across this bridge(a beautiful view after a fabulous hike to get there) you might change your mind, we have signs everywhere to keep us and children safe. This briidge has one dangerous section that should not be open at all ever. Yosemite is a fabulous, wonderful park but you can get into trouble if you are not careful or even when you are VERY careful.

  • socalmom

    One of the men slipped and the other died trying to save him.

  • Comrade

    All of us can learn an important lesson from this tragedy. If these two amazing persons could tell us their thoughts about Wapama Falls Footbridge they would probably say: “Don’t underestimate the power of water over this bridge. If you slip, the power of the waterfall will carry you off the bridge and no matter how strong your hiking companion is, they can not save you from the power of the water. Be extra careful. On July 19th three went over Vernal Falls, everyone should be very careful and not take chances around the extreme conditions presented by the rapidly melting snowpack. Water will be stronger the hotter the weather that precedes it, what was passable in the morning can become a raging torrent by afternoon. Never cross a bridge that has rushing water over it. Even water that is ankle deep, rushing with the speed and power of the rivers and streams in the Sierras, can knock a person down and have dire consequences.”

  • Dr. Ramani

    The authorities should close the foot-bridge [sign saying: “CLOSED”, with a gate across the foot-bridge] in the future, any time they notice high water levels approaching the level of the bridge. Otherwise, tragedy may repeat. Ordinary people like us underestimate the hazard and just blunder through without thinking twice.

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