Families urge state on safety after deaths at waterfall icon

At least four fatalities, including a Snohomish EMT and firefighter, have occurred there since 2016.

James Alexander Elisar Hopkins, 22, of Snohomish, died in May 2016 during a swimming accident in Eastern Washington. Family and friends are hosting a memorial 5K, the Adventures of a Lumberjack fun run, to raise money for scholarships. (Courtesy of the Hopkins family)

James Alexander Elisar Hopkins, 22, of Snohomish, died in May 2016 during a swimming accident in Eastern Washington. Family and friends are hosting a memorial 5K, the Adventures of a Lumberjack fun run, to raise money for scholarships. (Courtesy of the Hopkins family)

Associated Press

The families of those who died swimming at Washington state’s official waterfall are urging for more safety protections.

The Yakima Herald reports that the Palouse Falls in Eastern Washington has attracted more visitors since being designated a state icon in 2014.

At least four fatalities and 17 cases of serious injuries have occurred there since 2016. One of those fatalities was James Alexander Elisar Hopkins, 22, of Snohomish. He died in May 2016 during a swimming accident.

Now, the mothers of two men who died there are sounding the alarm bell on the famous 200-foot (91-meter) basalt cliff that is taller than Niagara Falls.

Dorothy Prophet wants more signage.

Ruth Drollinger is calling on the state to close the park until it can figure out how to prevent anyone else from dying on the cliffs or in the pool at the base of the falls.

The state says it’s considering more signage and extending some fencing to keep people from underdeveloped areas.

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