Daring Rescue: Teen Saves 9 Year Old From Deadly Yosemite Plunge

A San Jose teenager is being hailed as a hero after he saved a 9-year-old boy from plunging more than 300 feet down Vernal Falls in Yosemite.

Alec Smith, 16, and his family were hiking Yosemite National Park's Vernal Falls over the weekend when they heard a woman scream for help Smith said.

Smith said he and his family saw the boy being dragged along the fast-moving Merced River. That's when Smith said he made a split-second decision.

"When I reached him, he reached me he looked up at me with like the craziest look in his eye like just please help me,"recalled Smith who jumped over a fence to rescue the boy.{}

"I held out my hand at the same time he grabbed my hand and . . .{} he didn't really say anything. I just grabbed his hand and pulled him out."

Smith said the boy began to shake after he pulled him to safety. Smith says his uncle gave the boy a poncho and other dry clothes to wear.

"He came up to me with his head held down he was just like thank you for saving my life you know,"{} Smith said. "That hit me when he said that."

It was a close call for the 9-year-old boy. Last year, three people died after being swept away by the river's rapids.


Smith says that he was happy he was in the right place at the right time.