Eagle Falls fatality identified | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Eagle Falls fatality identified

William Ferchland

A 27-year-old man from San Rafael was identified as the lone fatality at Eagle Falls when a strong current swept him off a waterfall to a plunge of as much as 60 feet, authorities said.

John Randolph Galding III died Sunday at the falls at Emerald Bay, authorities said. An autopsy to determine the cause of death is pending.

Brian Barton, supervising ranger for the California State Parks Lake Tahoe region, said Randolph was hiking with three other people who lost sight of him. “They had stopped to look at scenery,” Barton said. “Why he left the roadway, no one knows, but someone saw him in the water trying to hang on a bush.”

A witness saw Randolph lose grip of the bush and fall down the waterfall, which has a drop of 60 feet to boulders and rough waters.

Barton remarked of recent deaths in California State Parks land near Nevada City that were similar to Sunday’s event.

“The water is just treacherous and it’s very high,” he said. “These type of events are happening all over California.”

Barton was unaware of Randolph’s clothing and footwear, but noted his three companions wore swimsuits and flip-flops.

“It is never safe to venture close to water above a waterfall,” Barton said.

A variety of agencies helped with Sunday’s attempted rescue of Randolph, including El Dorado County Search and Rescue Unit and a CHP helicopter.

Search and Rescue Coordinator Greg Almos said people venturing into Tahoe’s backcountry should take the proper precautions.

“Always let someone know your plan and stick to the plan,” he said.

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