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Remains of hiker found in Yosemite

POSTED August 9, 2011 9:08 p.m.

The body of one of the three missing Yosemite hikers was found Friday.

The body of Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto was found in the Merced River, approximately 240 feet from the base of Vernal Fall by Yosemite Rangers and Search and Rescue personnel, said park spokesperson Kari Cobb.

David was last seen with Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock and Ramina Badal, 21, of Manteca on July 19, when the three were swept over Vernal Fall while trying to take a photograph in the swift running water.

The area where the three were swept away is signed as a dangerous area, and the group had crossed a metal guardrail placed there to keep visitors away from the fast moving water. River water levels in Yosemite continue to remain higher and colder than usual for this time of the year and visitors are urged to exercise extreme caution when in and around waterway in the park, Cobb said.

The recovery effort took about four and a half hours as SAR personnel had to use ladders and special rigging to cross the slippery rocks and reach the body.

Searchers were able to spot the remains from the Mist Trail because the water flow had slowed some.

Yosemite National Park Rangers and SAR personnel are continuing recovery efforts in the Merced River, below Vernal Fall, for any signs of Yacoub and Badal. The Mist Trail, leading to the top of Vernal Fall, will intermittently and temporarily be closed until recovery operations of Yacoub and Badal are completed, Cobb said.

Park officials believe Yacoub and Badal’s remains are trapped under rocks and hidden by the falling sheets of water.

The search area included in the recovery effort is one of the most rugged areas of the Merced River. Yosemite Park Rangers and SAR personnel continue to exercise caution while searching along the slippery rocks and while near the high, fast moving water of the Merced River, Cobb said.

To contact Sabra Stafford, e-mail sstafford@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2002.

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