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Family of Woman Who Fell at Lake Tahoe Waterfall Sues Park

The family of a woman who died at Eagle Falls near South Lake Tahoe over the summer sued the park that manages the area. 

In the lawsuit, the family of Ishrat Azim argues that California’s Emerald Bay State Park along with the National Park Service acted negligently because they failed to issue public warnings about the hazards of the waterfall. 

The Outdoor Project describes Eagle Falls as “one of Lake Tahoe’s most accessible waterfalls.” It consists of two falls, an upper and a lower (40 and 170 feet, respectively), that flow into Emerald Bay. Additionally, the area overlaps with state and federal land. 

The complaint, filed in a Sacramento federal court on October 31, lists the ways in which the park could have prevented Azim’s death. They include installing warning signs, implementing a visitor safety program, and implementing a maintenance policy. 

According to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office, which led the search and rescue effort to recover Azim’s body, the 25-year-old was swept away by the falls on July 4, fell some 40 or 50 feet, and died of blunt force trauma with a skull fracture. 

A spokesman for the office explained that Azim slipped as she tried to dip her toes into the upper pool of the falls and that to access the area, she and her friends had to climb a guard rail. The spokesman added that a separate group of people incidentally filmed the accident. 

Also, at the time of the incident, Eagle Falls was experiencing unusually high water flow due to record-level snow melt.

The family is asking the court for damages, court costs, and other expenses related to the case. Neither park has responded to the allegations in court and no hearings have been scheduled as of yet.

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