Teen's death prompts crackdown at popular back country swim spot - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Teen's death prompts crackdown at popular back country swim spot

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RAMONA (CNS) - Authorities Thursday released the name of a 16-year-old boy who was killed when he slipped from an 80-foot bluff above a pond in the East County highlands, hitting his head on a boulder on the way down.

Joseph Meram of El Cajon slipped off Cedar Creek Falls, a secluded spot in Cleveland National Forest popular with sightseers and thrill-seeking cliff jumpers, shortly after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to San Diego County's sheriff's department and medical examiner's office.

Friends of the mortally injured youth made a 911 call and carried him up a steep slope to a clearing, where an emergency-services helicopter crew picked him up, Cal Fire Capt. Mike Mohler said.

The boy was pronounced dead while being flown to a Ramona-area fire station, the M.E.'s Office reported.

A boy struck by the falling teen was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido for treatment of apparently minor injuries, according to Mohler.

The remote area is a growing problem for Cal Fire and other public agencies as more visitors become stranded there without enough water or proper footwear, according to Mohler.

Last weekend, emergency crews transported 10 or more injured, dehydrated or heat-exhausted people out of the rugged locale. And over the years, many youths have been injured trying to leap from the cliffs surrounding the shallow, rocky pool at the bottom of the falls.

"We've had a real issue with this place," Mohler said.

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