Yosemite Deaths 2011
July 21, 2011 by staff
Yosemite Deaths 2011, A slip in the knee and the water, a spoon desperate for help, and a terrible time, three residents of Valley Center were dragged screaming over a waterfall thundering 317 meters to the apparent death, dozens of tourists in Yosemite National Park watched in horror. Ramina Badal, 21, a nursing student at the University of San Francisco, and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock (Stanislaus County) held onto one another, driven by falling Vernal on Tuesday, witnesses said. Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto followed over the edge after reaching down for them and him.
Just 25 meters upstream of the fall, the victims had climbed over a metal railing, ignoring the warning signs and pleas to those of other hikers out of the water. Their bodies have not been found in the foaming torrent of boulders is the Merced River. It is presumed dead.
“It is 317 meters below. No one can survive a fall like that,” said Scott Gediman, a spokesman for Yosemite National Park.
6 killed this year
The tragedy brings to six the number of people killed this year in the rivers and waterfalls of Yosemite, which was twice the average amount of snow last season. The ice sheet that covered the country remains high melting temperature, making rivers and streams in the fury of white water.
The witnesses could not explain why the victims got into the water above the fall, but apparently it was not only reckless in their group.
The tragedy occurred at 1:30 pm on a bright sunny day. A group of 12 friends and family had gone up the trail of mist famous park’s most popular hike to the top of Vernal Fall, Gediman said.
As many as 175 people were resting on the Vernal Fall overlooked when the group stopped for lunch. Eyewitness accounts vary slightly, but apparently another group member was the first to pass over the metal railing on top of the waterfall. Signs depicting stick figures plunging by the fall to warn people not to go beyond that point.
Upon entering the river
“He has a 6 – or a daughter, 7 years old in his left arm on the edge of the waterfall, while her other daughter, about 14 years old, is taking his picture,” said Jake Bibee of 28, of Costa Mesa (Orange County), who was hiking with a friend on the trail of fog that day. “He is on the corner, hanging over the falls. This girl is screaming bloody murder, and he laughed, thinking it’s a big old joke.”
The show angered Bibee and several other hikers, some of them shouted at the man and urged him to climb back over the railing. Meanwhile, apparently inspired by his friend, Badal, Yacoub and David went above or around the railing and into the water 25 m upstream of the fall, trying to reach a rock ledge partially covered vegetation about 15 feet from shore.
Gediman said the three went to his knees in the rushing waters were taking pictures and being silly. He said several witnesses also urged them to leave the water.
“They basically ignored their warnings,” said Gediman. “They did not meet the people told them it was dangerous.”
Bibee said Badal, who is from Manteca (San Joaquin County), was the first to slip and fall.
“This man is walking back to the group with her two children still on the wrong side of the railing and we’re all looking at him and at that time, she fell,” said Bibee. His friend, later identified as Yacoub, took her hand; Bibee said, then slipped and fell.
“He was reaching back trying to grab something. Everyone was screaming. You want to help, but you can not,” said Bibee. “I looked at his face and I saw his eyes open, absolutely fearful that he would die in five seconds. When we saw them pass the waterfall, which kept together.”
Bibee not sees David over the edge, because he had rejected with horror.
“Right as it passes through the edge I grabbed the girl I was, covered her eyes and called 911,” he said.
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