Hikers presumed dead after falling over Yosemite waterfall
Waterfalls like Yosemite's Vernal Fall have been swollen by near-record snowmelt in the high Sierra.
July 20th, 2011
09:30 PM ET

Hikers presumed dead after falling over Yosemite waterfall

[Updated 9:30 p.m. ET] Three Yosemite National Park tourists are presumed dead after climbing over a guardrail into the Merced River, park officials said Wednesday.

"So far we have seen no clues or no evidence of any of the bodies," said Kari Cobb, a spokeswoman for Yosemite National Park. "We are presuming that all three of them are dead ... we will scale up the search once the water levels have receded and we can insert crews to look for the bodies in the river safely."

Ramina Badal, 21, and Hormiz David, 22, both of Modesto, California; and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock, California, had hiked the popular Mist Trail to the top of Vernal Fall at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Vernal Fall is 317 feet high. The Mist Trail is the most popular trail in Yosemite National Park and attracts between 1,500 and 2,500 people a day, according to Kari Cobb, a spokeswoman for Yosemite National Park.

Witnesses unsuccessfully urged the hikers to return to shore as they watched them step into the swift, cold water about 25 feet from the cliff's edge, park officials said.

There are signs at the head of the trail that warn of danger and fast-moving water, the park said.

"Visitors that want to go around guardrails ... it's up to them," Cobb said. "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."

Yosemite rangers continued to search Wednesday, concentrating on each side of the Merced River downstream from the fall, the release said.

After a huge winter snow and a cool spring and summer, the park's rivers and streams have been running at higher-than-normal levels for this year, and will remain high for several weeks, park officials said.

Before Tuesday's incident, there were three water-related deaths in Yosemite National Park this year.

[Posted 7:46 a.m. ET] A search is under way in Yosemite National Park for three people who may have been swept over the 317-foot-high Vernal Fall on the Merced River in eastern California.

Park rangers have closed the Mist Trail to the fall until at least noon Wednesday, saying they are conducting a search after receiving unconfirmed reports of one or more visitors being swept over the fall.

Witnesses told CNN affiliate KGPE-TV that three people were swept over the fall around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“I saw the man’s eyes when he went over the falls. That was devastating,” witness Jacob Bibee told KGPE.

Other witnesses said two men and a woman went into the water and over the fall into a rocky pool below.

“I saw two that were holding each other and one that was floating alone through the water. And the reason that I looked was because this woman was screaming, running along the edge of the water,” witness Dean Sabo told KGPE.

Post by:
Filed under: California
soundoff (409 Responses)
  1. david davidson

    did they died?

    July 20, 2011 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Drome

      done did died they done did.

      July 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Don't worry, they made it to shore a few miles downstream from the 317 foot falls. A few bumps and bruises, but otherwise OK.

      July 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Boo Boo

      dey done dead didn't dey? Do dey die when dey did a doo-doo? Bet dey doo-dood a lot before dey dead.

      July 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel M

      Who dat?

      July 20, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rajiv

    What a sad coincidence – The same thing happened across the world and was caught live on video

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEbFTz2WwIs

    July 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      That is somewhat different in that there was hardly any water in the river at first but still.. wow, horrible.

      July 20, 2011 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Yes.. i happen to watch that Video yesterday... lost my sleep..... I hate the people standing around them.... stupids... they didn't even attempt to save these people.... Instead of taking videos.... pathetic...

      July 20, 2011 at 9:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Cindy

      My GOD, what a sad, sad, incident, always, always, respect the dangers of water.....

      July 20, 2011 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • emonallica

      3 of them died, 2 rescued.

      http://ibnlive.in.com/generalnewsfeed/news/body-of-girl-swept-away-at-patalpani-waterfall-recovered/758882.html

      July 20, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      Karen, some people were trying to help. But what could they do? Unless they happened to have a rope or something to throw out to them, which appears none did.

      July 20, 2011 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • iamthefredman

      That video is incredible. I never saw a river flash floodl ike that. What in God 's name were they doing (even in low water) that close to the edge of such a high waterfall??? It's sickening how the dozens of people just stood there and watched and video'd the trajedy. No one threw a rope, a belt, a piece of clothing or a few pieces tied together, or even a freaking stick? They stood there watching at the TOP as if the people were going to pop back UP the waterfall. What sick place is this?

      July 20, 2011 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • godless_blashpemer_heathen

      Note to self: don't stand in the river just before a huge water fall.

      July 20, 2011 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Displeased

      iamthefredman, what are they, 20, 25 feet from shore? That would be one heck of a stick somebody would have to go into the woods to find on such a short notice. And who carries around 30 feet of rope? Without these items, there wasn't anything the witnesses could do without risking being swept in themselves.

      July 20, 2011 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Rachel M

      Karen, what attempt would you have made to save those people? Whip out your pocket helicopter?

      July 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kirsten

    Very sad. Shame on you folks who have turned this into a political argument. You need something better to do.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  4. 50 and still WFO

    All American humans should be required to wear an OSHA approved air-bag suit that inflates upon impact with the idiot molecules that illegally immigrate into this proud proud nation. Also required is the oral political filter unit that translates all spoken words into politically correct and socially acceptable verbage. Helmets are mandatory in any public place. As are repirators and safety glasses. Proof of "social insurance" must be worn around the neck (like a press pass or pit pass or backstage pass). All described social safety devices MUST be in place as required by the Stoopid Humans Safety Mandate. Any and all interaction with wildlife is to be done through video surveilance only, and underwater adventures are to be done from within the safety of one's home via Satelite feed. Intercity travel is forbidden without your Gov Issued Smartphone/GPS/Camera/MP3player/records keeper/thingy (no prob since nearly every American is thoroughly addicted tpo these nonsensical toys as it is...)..

    I give it ten years and everyone will be gleefully standing in line to get the newset latest gizmo INSERTED INTO THEIR BRAINS!!! I swear the collective intelligence of this nation doesn't add up to my shoe size!!! ( 9d btw).

    RIP river waders ... such a tragedy. A real shame .. many families and people that survived them might be touched by the campers' loss. Tragically typical I'm afraid though. See mandate above.

    (forgive mispellings ... can't find my glasses.)

    July 20, 2011 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
    • But...

      this writing is funnier than anything on Saturday Night Live.

      July 20, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. waxthat

    zombie. Too bad it wasnt you.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. Joe M.

    @Zombie – Wow, you must really hate poor people and welfare recipients then, with your natural selection rant and all. Doesn't that conflict with your bleeding heart liberal beliefs? Then again, most liberals are hypocrites, so nobody can take your opinions seriously.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Thank you, Charles D. and zombie.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  8. jj

    Sad, but in the bigger picture – things happen. How many died on the roads heading to Yosemite? We don't flinch at traffic deaths because we are used to them.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. David

    Other than that, how was your trip to Yosemite?

    July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. FetalPosition

    Zombie? Have you learned to go f$ck yourself yet?

    July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Joey Isotta-Fraschini

    Not everyone who posts here is liberal enough to attempt to stop evolution.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. spring

    Terrible tragedy, my thoughts and prayers with all involved.
    ZOMBIE....no doubt your name fits you we.ll, you really showed your ignorance with your remarks. I will pray for you as well.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  13. HeeHawGoat

    Oh! Let's go!
    Steve walks warily down the street
    With his brim pulled way down low
    Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet
    Machine guns ready to go

    Are you ready hey are you ready for this?
    Are you hanging on the edge of your seat?
    Out of the doorway the bullets rip
    To the sound of the beat yeah

    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust hey
    Hey I'm gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust

    How do you think I'm going to get along
    Without you when you're gone
    You took me for everything that I had
    And kicked me out on my own

    Are you happy are you satisfied?
    How long can you stand the heat
    Out of the doorway the bullets rip
    To the sound of the beat look out

    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust hey
    Hey I'm gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust

    Hey!!!
    Oh take it – Bite the dust
    Bite the dust hey
    Hey !!! Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust ow
    Another one bites the dust he he
    Another one bites the dust hay yay ya ya ya
    Ooh shoota!

    There are plenty of ways that you can hurt a man
    And bring him to the ground
    You can beat him
    You can cheat him
    You can treat him bad and leave him
    When he's down yeah
    But I'm ready yes I'm ready for you
    I'm standing on my own two feet
    Out of the doorway the bullets rip
    Repeating to the sound of the beat

    Another one bites the dust
    Another one bites the dust
    And another one gone and another one gone
    Another one bites the dust yeah
    Hey I'm gonna get you too
    Another one bites the dust
    Shoota!

    Yeah! Alright!

    July 20, 2011 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  14. shar

    You should be ashamed of yourself. And aking if the person(s) were from Texas shows just how "Stupid" you are.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert A.M. Stephens

      Here I sit, cheeks a flexin', givin' birth to another Texan........

      July 20, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TG

    This generation is disregarding warnings more than ever, with many being "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God".(2 Tim 3:4) Wise king Solomon wrote:"Better is a needy but wise child than an old but stupid king, who has not come to know enough to be warned any longer."(Ec 4:13) Many are unwilling to see the seriousness of warnings, even though older in years.

    July 20, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13