Body found at Yosemite waterfall is woman who died in July

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 06, 2011 7:58 PM
Body found at Yosemite waterfall is woman who died in July

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Authorities on Tuesday identified the body of a young woman who plunged to her death over a 317-foot waterfall in Yosemite National Park with two friends in July.

The identification of 21-year-old Ramina Badal means all three victims of the fatal accident at Vernal Fall have been recovered, Yosemite park ranger Scott Gediman said.

Badal's body was found on Saturday about 120 feet downriver from a footbridge near the base of the falls and identified by the Mariposa County Coroner's office on Tuesday following an autopsy, Gediman said.

Badal and two friends, Hormiz David, 22, and Ninos Yacoub, 27, went over Vernal Fall on July 19 during a year in which Yosemite has seen more deaths than the average for most recent years.

Park rangers have said the three friends ignored a guard rail and warning signs to wade into the cold, fast waters of the Merced River about 25 feet from the edge of the falls.

Witnesses say they went over the edge after one of the group lost his footing and the other two tried to rescue him, according to rangers.

David's body was discovered in August about 240 feet below the waterfall. Yacoub's remains were recovered by search and rescue teams about 100 feet below the footbridge, in the same general area where Badal's body was found.

Gediman said fluctuating water levels in the Merced River, weather conditions and treacherous terrain made for a difficult search, but lower water levels and dry weather recently gave search teams access to areas previously inaccessible.

Vernal Falls and its accompanying Mist Trail, which climbs some 1,000 feet alongside the raging water, are among Yosemite's most popular destinations.

Gediman said 20 people have died so far this year in Yosemite, 13 of them in accidents, compared to an average of 12 to 15 fatalities the park has seen in most recent years.