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Yosemite National Park visitor died during shutdown

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Yosemite National Park, Calif. -- A man died after falling into a river at Yosemite National Park on Christmas Day, the National Park Service said Friday. He is the third person to die at a national park during shutdown, including a woman who was killed by a falling tree at Great Smoky National Park on Dec. 27 and a 14-year-old girl who appeared to have fallen to her death at Horseshoe Bend Overlook, part of the Glen Canyon Recreation Area in Arizona.  

At Yosemite, the man apparently slipped down Silver Apron, a large, sloping granite area above Nevada Fall, and suffered a head injury, government spokesman Andrew Munoz said in a statement. The ongoing investigation is taking longer than usual because of the partial government shutdown, he said.

Munoz said rangers responding to a 911 call arrived on scene in less than an hour and pulled the man, who has not been identified, from the water.

"Medical attention was provided to the visitor, but he died from his injuries," Munoz said.

The man's death was first reported by Outside Magazine, which noted that at least 10 people died in the park last year, including another man who slipped and fell to his death near Nevada Fall.

No further details on the Dec. 25 fatality were released.

Munoz said the park didn't issue a press release about the death because of the shutdown, which began two weeks ago and forced furloughs of hundreds of thousands of federal government employees.

Yosemite remains open to visitors during the shutdown, and crowds of visitors have been driving into the park to take advantage of free admission. This week, the park announced new access limitations and several closed areas within the park because of problems with human waste, damage to resources and other public safety concerns during the shutdown.

Under the park service's shutdown plan, law enforcement staff remains on duty.

Munoz said the visitor was not in a closed area when he fell.

On Dec. 27,  woman from Texas was hiking with her husband and three children on Porter Creek Trail at Great Smoky National Park on Thursday when a tree fell, park spokesman Mike Litterst said Saturday. Laila Jiwani, 42, was killed and one of her children was injured.

The body of a 14-year-old California girl was found on Christmas Day at Horseshoe Bend Overlook. She was last seen around 2 p.m. on Dec. 24 and was reported missing at 4 p.m., CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO reports. Since it was so close to nightfall, her body was not recovered until 10 a.m. the next day. 

Investigators said it appeared she fell 700 feet to her death, KPHO reports. The Coconino County Medical Examiner's Office will conduct a review and determine cause of death. 

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