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3 Stan County residents died Tuesday after slipping into Merced River in Yosemite

By Mark GrossiFresno Bee

Three Stanislaus County residents died Tuesday afternoon when they slipped while playing in the Merced River and were swept over Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park. Hormiz David, 22, and Ramina Badal, 21, both of Modesto, and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock had moved beyond the protective guard rail at the top of the waterfall. Their bodies have not yet been recovered, Yosemite officials said. "Other visitors were pleading with them to come out of the water," said park spokesman Scott Gediman. "One of the slipped, and there was a chain-reaction as the other two tried to save the person who slipped.

Rangers reopened the popular Mist Trail up Vernal Fall. But the search will continue for at least the next three days, officials said. The river still is swelling with snowmelt each afternoon and evening, said Ranger and Incident Commander Jeff Webb. "An aerial search is not possible because the river is just raging with white water," he said.

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