High levels of toxic algae that can make people “extremely sick” have been discovered in a river upstream where a California hiking family and their dog died under mysterious circumstances, officials said.
The bodies of Jonathan Gerrish, 45, Ellen Chung, 30, their 1-year-old daughter, Aurelia Miju Chung-Gerrish, and the family’s dog were found on Aug. 17, a few miles from where samples confirmed the presence of toxic algae blooms in the Merced River in the Sierra Forest.
“These algal blooms can produce toxins that can make people and pets extremely sick,” Elizabeth Meyer-Shields, a Bureau of Land Management field manager, said in a statement.
“We will continue to monitor for the algae’s presence and look forward to when the public can safely recreate in the Merced River.”
The federal agency closed campgrounds and recreation areas along the river, between the towns of Briceburg and Bagby, after receiving the results of the samples.
On Tuesday, forest officials had closed access to trails in the area due to “unknown hazards.”
A cause of death has not been determined for the family of three, and investigators are looking into whether toxic algae blooms or other hazards may have played a role.
Toxicology reports are still pending for the family, but investigators have ruled out any weapons being used or dangerous gases from a mine along the trail.
“Unfortunately we have no timeline for those results,” Mariposa County sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristie Mitchell previously told The Post.
With Post wires