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Visitor Fatality And Medical Incidents Occur During Special Event

Manzanar National Historic Site

National Park News

An estimated 1,200 people attended the Manzanar Committee’s 41st Annual Pilgrimage Ceremony on Saturday, April 24th. The event featured guest speakers, music, an interfaith religious service, and a traditional Japanese Ondo community dance. That evening, nearly 300 college students, former internees and others participated in intergenerational discussions at the Manzanar At Dusk “MADness” program at Lone Pine High School. At approximately 10:30 a.m. that morning, a 75-year-old former internee from the Sacramento area collapsed during a ranger-led interpretive tour. He was in the midst of sharing his recollections of life in the Rohwer and Jerome War Relocation Centers in Arkansas at the time. Medical professionals in his group immediately attempted basic life support measures, and were quickly assisted by the event's emergency EMS team (NPS and BLM) and personnel from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, the California Highway Patrol and the Independence Volunteer Fire Department. The park’s AED was utilized along with CPR. The man was transported to Southern Inyo Hospital in Lone Pine, where he was pronounced dead. Several other medical incidents followed, requiring three more ambulance transports (two medical and one injury) to Southern Inyo Hospital. Although Pilgrimage news releases always advise park visitors to be prepared for daytime heat, windy conditions and dry atmospheric conditions, event staff assured that all visitors received bottled water and refills to stay hydrated. An EMS tent was set-up at the event. The park staff was assisted by 15 Manzanar volunteers as well as two staff from Devil’s Postpile National Monument and two from the Bureau of Land Management. Since the park staff has very close ties with former internees, a critical incident stress debriefing took place yesterday.


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