Reporting Anjali Hemphill
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS13) – A search effort is underway for a Sacramento teen who was swept over a waterfall in Yosemite National Park.
“I was pretty shocked; I was pretty sad,” said friend Bogdan Pishtoy.
On Satruday, 19-year-old Aleh Kalman went hiking on the Mist Trail with a church group. In the afternoon, he went swimming in the Merced River when he was swept away by the current and taken over the 594 foot Nevada Fall.
Friends of Oleg Kalman say they’ll continue to pray until he’s found.
“I know him as a pretty religious kid; he grew up in a Christian family,” said Pishtoy.
Kalman came to Yosemite National Park with a church youth group from the Second Slavic Baptist Church.
“He was pretty athletic; he was always in shape. He was a fighter,” said Pishtoy.
Search crews have been looking in the water and on the ground since Kalman disappeared, but have found nothing so far.
“He always had a smile on his face. That’s what I remember most about him,” said Pishtoy. “He had a whole bright future ahead of him.”
Pishtoy graduated with Kalman last year from San Juan High School where they both played soccer.
Kalman is a student at American River College, but now Bogdan doesn’t know if he’ll ever see him again.
“I think the chances are pretty slim which is pretty sad,” he said.
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,” said Pishtoy.
We did try to reach out to Kalman’s family but they were too upset to talk to us about what happened.
The Mist Trail, from the footbridge above Emerald Pool to the top of Nevada Fall, is temporarily closed as ground teams continue searching for Kalman.