Yosemite Hiker Found Dead: How Was Kenneth Stensby Killed?
A Yosemite hiker was found dead at the base of a waterfall in Yosemite National Park on Monday. The Inquisitor reports that authorities recovered the body of 73-year-old Kenneth Stensby of Edina, Minn., after a helicopter spotted him.
Stensby, the president and chief executive officer of a real estate company, was found at the base of Vernal Fall, a 317-foot-high waterfall in Yosemite. He apparently fell from the top of the waterfall.
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According to AP, Stensby had been in the park for a few days and was staying at the Ahwahnee Hotel. He left a note Sunday morning with the concierge that said he would be hiking to the top of Vernal Fall and be back at the hotel around noon.
When hotel staff tried to get in touch with Stensby around 5 p.m. that same evening and couldn't reach him, they alerted National Park Service, who then organized a manhunt to look for the Yosemite hiker. The search involved dogs and a California Highway Patrol helicopter.
Park rangers found Stensby's backpack by the guardrails at the top of Vernal Fall. According to the Inquisitor, his camera was missing from his stuff.
Yosemite National Park sees almost 4 million people enter its front gates every year. With that many people hiking the park's giant rock attractions and navigating the rugged, mountainous terrain, there are bound to be some slips.
"A lot of people who are coming to the park aren't familiar with nature and don't understand the implications of their actions," Kari Cobb, a spokeswoman for the park, told the Los Angeles Times back in 2011 - one of the parks deadliest years on record for things like falls and drowning (there were 17 deaths in Yosemite in that year as of August).
Some of the fatalities in the park are from natural causes, including heart attacks. There are also a number of motor vehicle accidents.
According to one Yosemite hiking website, there have been more than 20 deaths on Half Dome, a nearly-5,000-foot-tall rock facade and Yosemite's blockbuster attraction. Falls, lightning strikes, failed base jumps and even a few suicides are some of the reasons people are killed at Half Dome.
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