Community in Shock over Loss of Citrus Heights Teen at Yosemite Waterfall

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It’s the second most popular spot to hike to at Yosemite National Park, but now Nevada Fall is the scene of a search for a 19-year-old from the Sacramento area.

“Just very sad … Hard to believe that it happened,” said Alex Shylo of Citrus Heights.

Shylo’s talking about his former high school classmate, and upstairs neighbor, Aleh Kalman.

Kalman was at Yosemite’s Nevada Fall Saturday on a joint trip between several Slavic churches when witnesses saw him disappear into the water.

“They saw Kalman swimming about 150 feet above the actual waterfall when they saw him get swept by the current and over the 600-foot waterfall,” said Kari Cobb with the public affairs office at Yosemite.

Word of the accident shocked folks in the neighborhood the Kalmans have called home for about eight months.

“Right here?” said neighbor Dave Sanders, while pointing across the street at the Kalman home.

Also startling? That Kalman should never have been in the danger zone.

“Several places along the river there is swimming. However directly at top of the waterfall, in the area where Kalman was swimming, there are signs that warn of the dangers of the waterfall and urges visitors to stay out of the water,” said Cobb.

The Merced River is moving at about  600 cubic feet per second over the fall – less in a year with a thick snow pack – but enough to produce swift current.

Pastors from Second Slavic Baptist Church in Citrus Heights, where Kalman’s father teaches Sunday school, have gone to Yosemite to support the family. They’ve been asked by the Kalmans not to make any comment.

Relatives at the Kalman home are also not talking about the search for their loved one.

Still, the same thought is on  many minds.

“Real nice people … That’s really too bad,” said Sanders.

Helicopters, ground teams and dogs have been involved in the search for Kalman, but there has been no sign of him. Rangers say it is highly unlikely anyone could survive such a fall.


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