Teen Dies Saving Younger Sister From Plunging Over Waterfall

A 16-year-old girl passed away tragically on Wednesday while reportedly saving her younger sister from going over a dangerous waterfall.

The teen was celebrating the Fourth of July at the Rainbow Falls in North Carolina when she saw the imminent danger. According to a report by PEOPLE, H'Money Siu was able to rescue her 11-year-old sister from rushing currents, but was swept away herself in the process. Before any of the adults in her party could reach her, she went over the 125-foot-tall drop.

The Siu sisters were reportedly in a group of about 25 people. They celebrated the holiday with a hike in the Pisgah National Forest. They found a calm pool to swim in along the Horsepasture River sometime in the morning, but the younger Siu sister was dragged away. When she caught up to her, H'Money just barely got her back into the grips of the adults waiting on shore, but she couldn't hold on herself.

Police told PEOPLE that they were first notified of the accident around noon. Bobby Cooper, the Lake Toxaway Deputy Fire Chief, said that around 4 p.m. a dive team recovered H'Money's body.

The teen is believed to have died due to blunt force trauma from the rocks where she landed. Cooper said that waterfalls are unfortunately a common hazard in the area. Altogether, there are 245 waterfalls in Transylvania County. Each is surrounded by signage in the hopes of deterring swimmers from the dangerous waters. In addition, Cooper said that there are many public service announcements and educational materials the county tries to promote for waterfall safety. The State Park system even has an entire page dedicated to the subject on its official website.

“Never play in the stream or river above a waterfall. You can easily be swept over the falls by currents,” it reads. “Watch children carefully. Children should always be under the immediate supervision of adults when visiting any falls. Pets should also be supervised. They can easily underestimate the slickness of rocks and the flow of water.”

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The rescue effort brought about 45 people together, Cooper said, from all over the county.

The tragedy was grimly familiar to local residents, who have already seen a total of five deaths related to waterfall accidents this summer. Just last week, 42-year-old John Shaffer reportedly died at the same fall. He reportedly went over the fall while trying to rescue his dog.