Emergency personnel responded to a call for help at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, near Potwisha Campground in the foothills of Sequoia National Park. The incident began when an 18-year-old Fresno man, who was rock-hopping along the Marble Fork of the Kaweah River near Potwisha, slipped on a rock, and went over a cascading waterfall.
Downstream, the victim managed to grab onto a rock and climb out of the chilly water. His friends, standing on the other side of the swiftly flowing water, thought discretion the better part of valor and sent one of the party to summon help.
By the time rescue personnel arrived on the scene, it was almost too dark to see. But two National Park Service rescuers and one Cal Fire firefighter hastily formed a swiftwater rescue team and negotiated the chilly, rapidly moving riverbed to where the stranded hiker was perched on a boulder.
The rescuers were able to get the victim back across the river and assisted him down the trail to where an Exeter ambulance was standing by. The teen complained of a leg injury but it was determined not to be serious.
The victim, treated at the scene, declined to be transported in the ambulance and he rejoined his friends. A Sequoia National Park spokesperson said the water in some places looks inviting but is still extremely dangerous.
Recent rains and storms in the high country are causing sporadic increases in the flows in park waterways and the water temperature remains cold. Hikers and fisherman who are near any rivers are urged to exercise extreme caution.