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Whittier hospital staff members killed in Yosemite

June 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two local medical personnel were swept over a bridge and into a reservoir while backpacking through Yosemite National Park.

The two doctors worked in the Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital emergency room in Whittier. They were part of a group that had been backpacking for several days through Yosemite National Park.

The men ran into trouble Wednesday when they were swept over a bridge and into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. One of their bodies has been found. The other man is missing and presumed dead.

The atmosphere was very somber time at the hospital after it was learned that two of their own are deceased.

The two men were identified as Dr. Gregory Meyer, an emergency medical specialist who worked at the hospital since 1998; and Richard Fox, a physician's assistant in the emergency department, working at the hospital since 2003.

Park officials say the accident happened Wednesday around 8 a.m. Both men were in their 50s, according to the medical director for the hospital's emergency department.

The two men were part of a group of five hikers. The other three also work at the hospital. One was Meyer's wife.

Park officials say Meyer is presumed dead but they are still searching for his body. Fox's body has been recovered.

Park officials say the bridge where the group was crossing was open to the public but it was filled with water from rain and snow runoff.

"We save lives every day and we're always doing things and we're always telling people we're sorry. But none of us thought it would happen to one of us, especially this young," said Dr. Ian Kramer at the hospital Thursday. "The staff is really going through a tough time right now."

Kramer said this was the fourth year that the group of five has taken the trip to Yosemite.

Park officials say there have been fatalities at the park this year, but this is the first time anyone has been swept away on or near the bridge where Wednesday's incident happened.


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