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Teen dies after fall in Yosemite Park

Aug. 12, 2011 at 10:55 PM

MODESTO, Calif., Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A 17-year-old has died at a California hospital after falling on the Mist Trail in Yosemite National Park and injuring his head severely, authorities said.

Kao Kue was airlifted to Doctor's Medical Center after the fall Sunday, the Los Angeles Times reported. He died Thursday.

Fourteen people have died in Yosemite this year, officials said. Kue will not be counted in the park's statistics because he died elsewhere.

Four people have died on the Mist Trail, which follows the Merced River. A man slipped and fell into the river in May, and three people were killed in June after climbing a guardrail at Vernal Falls.

Kari Cobb, a spokeswoman for the park, said the number of deaths this year is above average, possibly because heavy snow during the winter has raised water levels in rivers.

She said visitors to the park should be conscious of the dangers on some of its trails.

"Their safety and the risks associated with hiking the park are completely up to them to mitigate," Cobb said. "It's up to them to make the appropriate decisions to make them safe. We have signs on our most popular trails that tell visitors about some of the risks, and it is up to them to heed them."

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