SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY, Calif. – A California man died, and his hiking companion had to be extracted by aviation crews after the pair fell 20 feet down a waterfall in the San Bernardino National Forest on Sunday afternoon.
According to The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, the duo fell in Big Falls, a waterfall just east of the Forest Falls community, just after 3 p.m. local time, The Orange County Register reported.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a helicopter rescue team found 43-year-old Annalea Deharo Majors, of Riverside, performing CPR on 43-year-old Richard Deharo, of Hemet.
Mara Rodriguez, public information officer with the Sheriff’s Department, confirmed to the newspaper that Deharo died on the scene, while Majors was flown out of the area and transported to a nearby hospital, but her condition remained unknown Monday evening.
Big Falls is a popular short trail, providing views of one of the tallest waterfalls in Southern California, the Times reported.
Sunday’s incident marks at least the second fatal fall in the Forest Falls area this year, the OC Register reported, noting that 33-year-old Robert Carey Jr. of Calimesa was found unresponsive at the base of the Big Falls waterfall on May 2.
Officials with the U.S. Forest Service have closed the upper section of the Big Falls trail to visitors in recent years following a string of injuries. According to an order released by the agency that is active through June 17, 2023, visitors are banned from going past a viewing platform at the northern end of the Big Falls trail toward an observation area at the top of the falls, the Times reported.
The area at the top of the falls, once dubbed “Blood Rock” by locals and authorities, was the site of more than 60 injuries in 2015, according to The Press-Enterprise in Riverside.