Visitor Dies After Injury in Yosemite National Park Amid Government Shutdown

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A visitor to California’s Yosemite National Park has died after a reported head injury sustained on Christmas Day, the National Park Service confirmed Friday.

Yosemite National Park Emergency Communications Center received a 911 call on the afternoon of December 25 about a male park visitor with a head injury, according to Andrew Muñoz, acting chief of public and congressional affairs for the Pacific West Region. The incident occurred in the Silver Apron area, a body of water between Vernal and Nevada Falls.

Muñoz says rangers responded to the scene in less than an hour and removed the visitor from the water. The visitor received medical attention, but he died from his injuries. The National Park Service has not identified the visitor.

“We aren't releasing more detail because the incident remains under investigation, which is taking longer than usual because of the shutdown. A news release wasn't issued because of the shutdown,” Muñoz said in a statement.

This comes as the as the partial federal government shutdown nears the end of its second week. Federal public lands, which include national parks, remain mostly open to the public, despite the absence (or severe reduction) of management and visitor services, and in some cases, limited access.

Yosemite National Park is open during the shutdown, but some specific areas of the park are closed, according to the park’s website. Muñoz notes that the visitor was not in a closed area.

In addition to the incident in Yosemite, two other deaths in National Park Service units have been reported during the shutdown. On December 24, a 14-year-old girl was found dead at the bottom of Horseshoe Bend, about 700 feet below the overlook, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. Horseshoe Bend is located within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Arizona. On December 27, The Washington Post reports a falling tree killed a woman in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

This is a developing story. We will update this article as more information becomes available. 

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