Yosemite News Release
July 20, 2011
For Immediate Release
Scott Gediman 209-372-0248
Kari Cobb 209-372-0529
Three Visitors Swept Over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park
Group of Family and Friends on Day Trip to Yosemite
Three visitors are presumed dead after plunging over Vernal Fall in
Yosemite National Park yesterday afternoon at approximately 1:30 p.m.
Hormiz David, 22 year old male, of Modesto, CA, Ninos Yacoub, 27 year old
male, of Turlock, CA, and Ramina Badal, 21 year old female, of Manteca, CA,
came to the park for a day trip with a group of family and friends.
The group was witnessed entering the water above Vernal Fall, approximately
25 feet from the precipice. Witnesses reported to park officials that
several people urged the group member to step back from the river, since it
was flowing swiftly and extremely cold. The area is signed as a dangerous
area, and the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep
visitors away from the dangerous fast moving water.
The park is still seeing the effects of a huge winter snowpack and a cool
spring and summer. The Merced River, which feeds the 317 foot Vernal Fall,
is still running at spring conditions with significant water levels
resulting in a swift, dangerous current. The hike up the Mist Trail to
Vernal Fall is one of the most popular hikes in the park, with upwards of
1,500 people per day ascending the trail to the top of Vernal Fall.
Visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution around all water in Yosemite
National Park. Park rivers and streams have been running at higher than
normal levels for this time of year, and will remain high for several
There have been six water related deaths in Yosemite National Park this
year, including this incident. Two hikers drowned in the Hetch Hetchy
Reservoir on June 29, 2011, and a hiker slipped and fell into the Merced
River on the Mist Trail on May 13, 2011.
The Mist Trail had been closed since the incident to facilitate Search and
Rescue Operations. The trail has now reopened. Yosemite National Park
Rangers will continue search efforts throughout the day. These efforts
consist primarily of combing each side of the Merced River looking for the
Over the years, there have been several cases of visitors going over Vernal
Fall, as well as other waterfalls, such as Upper Yosemite Fall.