California couple’s bodies recovered from waterfall near Yosemite: ‘They were important’

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California couple’s bodies recovered from waterfall near Yosemite: ‘They were important’

Search and rescue teams recovered the bodies of a man and a woman who were found near Angel Falls, not far from Yosemite National Park in central California, this week, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department confirmed to Fox News Digital. 

They were identified as Monica Ledesma, 34, and James Hall, 35, who were in a relationship, the sheriff’s department said.

Rescuers first located Ledesma’s body Wednesday, after being notified about an unresponsive woman in the water not far from Bass Lake. Some of Hall’s belongings were found near Ledesma and his body was soon recovered.  

“James died a hero trying to save his girlfriend Monica,” a fundraising page set up for Hall’s family said. “Unfortunately, they both were taken from us.”

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Search and rescue teams recovered two bodies near Angel Falls, not far from Yosemite National Park in central California, the Madera County Sheriff’s Department revealed to Fox News Digital.  (Madera County Sheriff’s Office)

At a vigil for the couple, Hall’s mother said it was “maybe the hardest day of our lives,” according to KFSN-TV. “But it’s here for a reason and I think it’s in the name of love.”

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Nancy O’Hara, who was friends with the couple, told the station: “Not only were they kind and considerate, and took care of us old folks, took care of the young folks.” 

Yosemtie

Angel Falls is not far from Yosemite National Park. (Mark Hume/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Ledesma was the mother of an 8-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter, her mom told the station. 

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who were lost at Angel Falls today,” Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue said in a statement. “We would like to thank our allied partners for their outstanding support and response to today’s events, whose simultaneous occurrence stretched resources. I applaud the efforts of the rescue and recovery teams, who performed their duties diligently and respectfully.”

Angel Falls

The bodies were recovered at Angel Falls. (John Walker/Fresno Bee/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

O’Hara added, “Monica and James were important here. They were important because they were family. Not related except by heart. Kindness is something that run through all of them and they were examples.”

The sheriff’s department said places like Angel Falls that are close to parking lots and trails often give hikers a “false sense of security about the level of danger that exists. When hiking around the water, extra caution needs to be taken. Rocks can be extremely slippery even when they aren’t wet. One missed step can result in a serious injury or fatality.”

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The department added: “The water is extremely swift, and deadly cold. Warm air temperatures do not mean warm water temperatures. Cold water can very quickly remove heat from the body and lead to a loss of movement in the limbs. When heading into rivers and streams, always take precautions, such as wearing a life vest, bringing a life preserver with you, and following all river/stream closures.”

The department didn’t explain Ledesma and Hall’s causes of death.

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