A California mother of three has died after slipping into a Lake Tahoe waterfall and being carried away by the fast-moving waters, officials said.
Dina Espinosa, 35, was sitting in one of the pools of water near Eagle Falls Friday when she was swept away by the current while reaching for a branch, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office said.
Espinosa was taken over the waterfall, and by the time a search and rescue diving team found her, she had died, authorities said. Her cause of death was not immediately clear.
“The victim … a successful entrepreneur, was a lover of nature and living in the moment,” the North Tahoe Fire Protection District said. “This is a terrible loss to all who loved her.”
Espinosa was remembered by loved ones as nurturing and maternal to not only her children, but to the many people she cared about.
“Those of you who knew Stephanie know how much love she gave to everyone in her life, how she was always there to help and support in any way that she could,” her brother wrote on a GoFundMe page. “For those of you who didn't have the opportunity … she was a beautiful human being inside and out.”
Described as the “core of her family,” Espinosa is survived by her daughter and two sons, as well as her mother, two younger brothers and four younger sisters.
“She was … the strong, centered one that would always bring people together, she valued that more than anything,” Espinosa’s brother wrote. “She would light up any room she walked into.”
Espinosa apparently often visited Eagle Falls, a place in which she “found serenity,” her brother said.
“She loved nature, being in the outdoors and spending time with her kids,” he wrote.
As of Monday, the GoFundMe page, which was created to help pay for Espinosa’s funeral and memorial, as well as to help support her children, has raised about $3,500 of its $20,000 goal.
After Espinosa's death, the North Tahoe Fire Protection District on Sunday urged visitors to falls to be cautious.
"Every year, there are deaths on our waterways and in our back country," the fire district wrote. "Our message is to help visitors understand the dangers inherent to our beautiful region, and especially after this record winter, our creeks, rivers, waterfalls and lake carry many dangers that visitors need to be aware of.
"Our only hope is that this tragic accident will help others to take heed and use extreme caution when they are recreating in the area."