Search for Yosemite Victims Scaled Back

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC Bay Area's George Kiriyama speaks with family and friends who are mourning the loss of three hikers swept away in Yosemite National Park.

    After a week of intensive but fruitless searching, park officials have scaled back the search for three tourists who fell to their death in Yosemite last week.

    Ramina Badal, Hormiz David and Ninos Yacoub, from the Central Valley, climbed across a safety barricade at the top of Vernal Fall on July 20. They all fell into the water and were swept down the 317 foot cliff to their death.

    Young Witness Found Yosemite Accident Shocking

    [LA] Young Witness Found Yosemite Accident Shocking
    A young witness to Tuesday's accident at Vernal Fall thinks more than one person went over the 300 foot fall.

    It is believed that their bodies are trapped under rocks and hidden as snow-melt churns through the Merced River.

    While rangers said they will continue to hike the trail and scan the river for their bodies, they may not be found until autumn when the water recedes.

    Family members of the victims are heartbroken by that news.

    They have been returning to the park every day for the past week hoping for word that their loved ones have been found.

    Badal's father told the Modesto Bee newspaper that he can't sleep at night because his daughter isn't home.

    Vernal Fall is one of the most popular sites at the park. Hundreds of visitors make the 3-mile trek from the base of the valley to the waterfall each day.

    The area has signs posted listing it as a danger area. Following this incident, Yosemite officials said they would not change the signage on the trail or near the waterfall, stating that is was sufficient warning to visitors.

    According to park's website, more people die on the Mist Trail than anywhere else in Yosemite. It goes on to explain the deaths are not because of the waterfall or the steep cliffs, but instead the current.

    The river at the top of Vernal Falls has a stronger current than appears. 

    "Typically, a hiker slips into the water and finds the current too strong to overcome, then gets swept to a regrettable death somewhere downstream," according to park's website.

    NBC reporter George Lewis reported last week from Yosemite for the Nightly News with Brian Williams: