Mist Trail and hikers above the Merced River
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Three hikers visiting Yosemite National Park on a day trip with a group of family and friends, were swept over the edge of Vernal Fall and into the Merced River in Yosemite National Park.

The hikers were identified as Hormiz David, 22, Ramina Badal, 21, and Ninos Yacoub 27, all residents of California.  The trio had made the steep, slippery ascent along the Mist Trail to the 317-foot tall Vernal Fall.  They were seen crossing a metal guardrail placed to keep visitors away from the swift-moving water.  They then entered the water approximately 25 feet from the precipice, even though people were telling them not to do it.

These are the sixth water-related deaths in Yosemite this year.  Another hiker slipped and fell into the Merced  River on the Mist Trail on May 13.  Yosemite averages 12 to 15 accidental deaths per year.

Even though there are railings and signs in some of the more dangerous spots on the trails, many to their detriment ignore the warnings and help society with their passing.

Jake Bibee was aghast when he saw members of a church group climb over a protective railing at the edge of Vernal Fall, along Yosemite National Park’s popular Mist Trail.

Then dismay turned to horror as one person slipped into the dangerous Merced River, and two others reaching to help also tumbled in. All three were swept over Vernal Fall, plunging more than 300 feet to their deaths Tuesday.

“It was no more than five or six seconds of them bobbing in the water screaming before they went over,” Bibee recounted Wednesday. “We had to watch the fear on their faces as they knew they were plunging to their death. It was awful.” http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/07/20/2471350/witness-describes-watching-3-plunge.html