California mom falls to death at waterfall while trying to save teen

A Ladera Ranch woman exploring a waterfall with four teens slipped and fell to her death while trying to save one of them from falling.

It happened Thursday at Three Sisters Falls in the Cleveland National Forest.

Sarah Louise Crocker, 48, was hiking with family friends when the group reached the middle pool of the falls and one of the teen girls slipped, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

"The woman supervising the teenagers attempted to keep the girl from going over the ledge," authorities said in a statement. "Unfortunately, both the woman and girl fell and suffered severe injuries."

Sarah Louise Crocker / GoFundMe

Bystanders tried to resuscitate Crocker, who had fallen into the bottom pool area, but she died at the scene.

An investigation by the county medical examiner’s office determined Crocker died of multiple blunt-force trauma injuries. Her manner of death was ruled accidental.

The teen girl was airlifted to a hospital for treatment; she suffered "severe but non-life-threatening injuries," the sheriff’s department said.

Crocker was described as a "talented and accomplished artist" who grew up in Laguna Beach and raised her family in Ladera Ranch, according to the GoFundMe page created for her. She was involved in various school and community activities.

The Cleveland National Forest is about a 45-mile drive from San Diego.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Three Sisters Falls hike is described as "moderate to strenuous."

"Gaining in popularity, this often crowded, yet challenging hike takes hikers through several ecosystems before leading to the main event — three large waterfalls wedged between tall, rocky mountains," the Forest Service said. "Recently having undergone some new development, hikers will find a safer and more direct route to the falls, which alleviates the requirement to rock/mountain climb, lowering injury risks and casualty rates."

The Forest Service also warns potential hikers to "be careful" hiking around the falls, as "years of water runoff has left the large boulders incredibly smooth, making slips and falls common."

City News Service contributed to this report.