On Saturday, June 4, at 4:16 p.m., the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks dispatch office received a radio call from a park employee relaying a report from park visitors of someone in distress in the Kaweah River near Hospital Rock in Sequoia National Park. A swiftwater rescue was initiated at that time.
Upon arrival at Hospital Rock, rangers found the victim, a 17-year-old female from San Jose. She had been swimming in the river at Hospital Rock when she was swept 500 feet downstream by strong currents through sections of rapids. As she was clinging to a rock, two visitors pulled her to safety.
The teen complained of shortness of breath and pain due to hitting rocks in the river. A Parkmedic (a park ranger with specialty medical training) and an EMT provided care to the patient.
She was transported by ambulance from Hospital Rock to a local hospital. A total of 10 park staff and a deputy sheriff from the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office responded to the swiftwater rescue.