California Man 'Died a Hero' While Trying to Save Girlfriend from Drowning Near Yosemite National Park

Both the woman and the man's bodies were recovered from the water near Angel Falls, police said

<p>GoFundMe</p> James Hall (left) and Monica Ledesma


James Hall (left) and Monica Ledesma

A man who died trying to save his girlfriend from drowning was found dead alongside her in the waters near Angel Falls, just outside of Yosemite National Park.

The Madera County Sheriff's Office shared on social media on Wednesday, June 19 that shortly before 11:30 a.m. local time officers received an “emergency call” about an “unresponsive female” in the water near Angel Falls. When officers arrived, she was confirmed dead on the scene.

The sheriff's office said search and rescue teams, along with USFS, Madera County Fire & CALFire, Sierra Ambulance and the CHP H-40 helicopter, also “located items which led them to believe an adult male may also be missing.” They eventually “recovered” a man from the “water as well.”

“Our hearts go out to the families of those who were lost at Angel Falls today,” Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue shared in a statement, adding that he applauded “the efforts of the rescue and recovery teams, who performed their duties diligently and respectfully.”

Related: 26-Year-Old Woman Drowns After Getting Swept Up into Waterfall at Glacier National Park

The Madera County Sheriff's Office did not say how the pair may have died, but shared a warning to hikers to take “extra caution” when hiking around water, especially since “rocks can be slippery” and “one missed step can result in a serious injury or fatality.” They recommended wearing a life vest or bringing a “life preserver” when doing so.

“The water is extremely swift and deadly cold,” the sheriff’s office warned. "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.”

The Madera County Coroner’s Office identified the pair as Monica Ledesma and James Hall, both 35, from Madera County, according to The Fresno Bee.

Related: Body Found in Search for Hiker Who Continued on the Trail Alone and Then Called Family in Heat Distress

A GoFundMe for Hall shared that he had “died a hero trying to save his girlfriend” Ledesma, and "unfortunately, they both were taken from us." A separate GoFundMe for Ledesma described her as a “loving mother, sister and daughter,” who left two children behind.

Hall’s mother told KFSN-TV at a vigil for the pair held on Friday, June 21, “This may be the hardest day of our lives, but it's here for a reason and I think it's in the name of love."

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A friend of the couple also remembered the pair for their kindness. "Not only were they kind and considerate, and took care of us old folks, took care of the young folks," Nancy O'Hara told the outlet.

She 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."

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