Accident in Yosemite National Park

Authorities say three visitors to Yosemite National Park in California are presumed dead after witnesses saw them climb over a guardrail on a popular hiking trail Tuesday afternoon and get swept over a 317-foot-high waterfall.
Kari Cobb, a spokesperson for the park, said: “So far we have seen no clues or no evidence of any of the bodies. We are presuming that all three of them are dead.”
Park rangers have been searching waters downstream from the popular Vernal Fall. Cobb said a more intensive search will be conducted closer to the falls once water levels have receded and crews can safely enter the area.
Park officials say the missing and presumed dead visitors are Ramina Badal (21) Hormiz David (22) and Ninos Yacoub (27). All three are California residents.
Authorities say the three had climbed over a safety railing and were wading in fast-moving water between granite rocks about 25 feet from the edge of the waterfall before being swept away.
Cobb said there are signs warning of danger and fast-moving water and there are guardrails in the area, but visitors often ignore them.
“It’s something that does happen and it’s completely up to the visitor to know what safety concerns are around and take responsibility for their own actions” – she said.
Before Tuesday’s incident, there had been three water-related deaths at Yosemite this year.

Accident in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park.

Three hikers who jumped a guard rail at Yosemite National Park were playing close to a massive waterfall before being pulled by raging water.
Hormiz David (22) Ninos Yacoub (27) and Ramina Badal (21) – all from California – are presumed dead after the incident at the park’s Vernal Falls.
The three friends were playing and taking pictures in waters 25 feet away from the 317-foot falls despite urgings from onlookers to come back.
Their leisurely swim turned deadly as one of them slipped, fell and was dragged toward the falls.
Park spokesman Scott Gediman told the L.A. Times that the second victim tried to rescue the first, and the third victim tried to save the other two
Park officials said rangers would continue searching the Merced River at the bottom of the falls for any sign of the victims.
The Mist Trail, a popular hike with tourists that leads to the waterfall, was closed following the incident but has since reopened.
The path to the top of Vernal Falls, a three-mile trek with a 1,000-foot rise in elevation, is one of the most popular hikes in the park.
A guardrail separates visitors from the water atop the falls, and signs in multiple languages warn of the danger created by slippery boulders.
At least 13 people have been killed by falling over the edge since records began being kept in the 1920′s.
Visitors often underestimate the force of water created by record snowfall, and the mist from waterfalls creates slippery conditions on trails.
Park spokeswoman Kari Cobb said that at least eight people have died in the park this year alone.
In May, two men lost their lives after they were swept off a bridge near the park’s Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.

The water at Yosemite National Park may be beautiful as it tumbles and roars out of the mountains, crystal snowmelt in a granite bed. But Jake Bibee remembers what he told his friend – “You have to respect the water.”
Bibee, a 28-year-old carpenter who grew up in Angels Camp, northwest of the park, had brought Amanda Lee, a visitor from Missouri, to the top of Vernal Fall on Tuesday — her first visit to Yosemite, but the latest of many for him.
They were standing behind a metal barricade, peering at the cascade. It is one of the most popular and beloved sites in the park.
It can also be deadly.
Bibee saw a man cross over the barricade. He was leaning over the 317-foot waterfall, holding a young girl, who was screaming in terror. People begged them to get back. “I’m yelling at him, ‘You SOB, get over here!’” Bibee said. Eventually, the two returned to safety.
But then Bibee noticed that three other people had also crossed over, and were ‘taking pictures and being stupid.’
And then, as he watched in horror, one of them, a young woman, slipped. In an instant, she was sliding away, carried toward the precipice as onlookers screamed.
“The woman goes first” – Bibee said. “Then the older gentleman at that point falls in. I’m watching the two of them being swept away. I’m starting to jet for the edge. It’s just instinct. But Amanda says: ‘No, no, don’t go!’ Then there was another guy I hadn’t seen. I didn’t see him fall in.
“But he looks back, just as he’s being swept over the edge. I knew then they were not going to make it. They’re going over the waterfall.”
The three were members of a group of 12 from a Central Valley church that had hiked to the top of the waterfall – said Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman.
Ignoring posted signs and repeated warnings, they had climbed over the metal-bar barricade to get in the Merced River about 25 feet from the edge of the falls.
As Gediman recounted what happened, it was a chain reaction. First one person was swept away, then a second one tried to rescue that person and then a third tried to save the other two. All three were swept over the waterfall.
They were identified as Ramina Badal, 21, of Manteca; Homiz David, 22, of Modesto; and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock.

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