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Simi Valley boy, 17, drowns at Yosemite

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POSTED March 26, 2014 7:30 p.m.

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (AP) — Authorities say a Southern California teen drowned at Yosemite National Park while helping his family members who were struggling to swim in the Merced River.

A a coroner’s official said 17-year-old Walter Gonzalez of Simi Valley died Sunday.

Kari Cobb, a Yosemite spokesperson, says the family members were swimming in an area of the river known as Devil’s Elbow when the teen attempted to help them.

Cobb says Gonzalez was pulled out of the water by bystanders and pronounced dead at the scene.

She says at this time of year the water is cold and higher than normal.

The newspaper says it was Yosemite’s first drowning death of 2014.

There are about one or two drownings per year at the park, depending on water levels and visitation, according to Cobb.

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