Skip to content

Two ASU graduates drown in Coconino National Forest

The tragic incident of two recent Arizona State University graduates drowning in Fossil Creek in the Coconino National Forest has left the community in shock. The two men, who were part of a group of 18 friends, had embarked on a four-mile hike to the lower falls on May 8. As evening approached, emergency services began receiving distress calls about two men who had gone into the water and were unable to resurface. . Multiple departments responded, with witnesses confirming that two men had disappeared underwater near the falls.

Despite the overnight efforts of the Tonto Rim search and rescue team, it was not until the next morning that divers discovered the bodies of the two men, 20 feet underwater. The victims were identified as Rakesh Reddy Lakkireddy, 23, and Rohith Manikanta Repala, 25, both recent graduates of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. Fulton Schools of Engineering Dean Kyle Squires expressed his deep sorrow at the loss of two promising young lives, extending his condolences to the families and friends of Rakesh and Rohith.

The group didn't plan to do much swimming during their trek, although they had brought a few life jackets. It is not yet clear if the victims knew how to swim. According to Sgt. Cole LaBonte, the men unwittingly found themselves in a situation beyond their skill level when they slipped into the water, which was deeper than they had anticipated.

This unfortunate incident marks the first two drownings in Fossil Creek this year. The area, known for its natural beauty, has seen an increase in visitors in recent years, especially during the summer months, largely due to the popularity of photography on social media. Visitors to the Coconino National Forest must pay fees, obtain parking permits for certain lots, and make reservations from April 1 through October 1. Despite these regulations, the charm of Fossil Creek continues to attract nature lovers and adventurers alike.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *