Tawonga counselor dies in drowning at a river outside Yosemite

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A drowning incident at a river outside Yosemite National Park claimed a life on Thursday, according to the Facebook post of the camp.

The victim was identified as Eli Kane who graduated from Berkeley High and was a summer counselor at the 95-year-old Camp Tawonga.

The camp’s post said that the incident transpired at a swimming hole far from the camp on a day off.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragedy,” the statement reads. “Eli was a bright light, beautiful spirit and an adored Tawongan. … Our deepest sympathies and thoughts are with Eli’s family, and we are grieving with them. He was a long-time Tawonga camper … and a truly incredible counselor.”

The response team from the U.S. Forest Service and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office headed to the Tuolumne River at Cherry Lake Road on July 15 at 12:52 p.m. after they received the emergency call, the sheriff’s office said.

The victim, according to sheriff’s office Deputy Niccoli Sandelin, was seen with a group at a swimming hole. People were already doing CPR upon the arrival of fire and medical personnel. They were replaced by the paramedics who announced the victim’s death.

Campers were not around when the drowning happened, and only the other staff members were on the location, Camp Tawonga CEO Jamie Simon told KTVU in a statement.

The victim is a 2019 Berkeley High School graduate. He also attended the University of Michigan, as reported at J Weekly.

Sandelin said that eleven people have already drowned in the bodies of water in Tuolumne County since summer started, SFGate reported.

“I would say that just off my knowledge from previous years, we’re significantly higher than we have been in the past,” he said. “It has been on every waterway we have in Tuolumne.”