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Search for lost hikers called off

POSTED November 22, 2011 10:26 p.m.

The search for two hikers swept over a Yosemite National Park waterfall in July has officially ended for the time being, park officials announced last week.

Park officials said the conditions are becoming too dangerous to continue the search efforts for Ramina Badal, 21, of Manteca and Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock, as rain and snow is starting to swell the Merced River.

Search teams have been scouring the area of Vernal Falls since July, when the two, along with Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto were swept over the 317-foot waterfall. The trio was part of a church group visiting the park. According to park officials, the three climbed over a metal guardrail and waded into the water about 25 feet from the precipice to take a photo. They lost their footing on the slippery rocks and were swept over. David’s body was found about three weeks later pinned under a boulder under the base of the waterfall.

Before ending the search for the season, park officials used a cadaver search dive team last week to comb through the waters and rocks, but to no avail. Park officials said an approximate $60,000 has been spent on the search efforts. The search for Badal and Yacoub should resume next year when the conditions are safe.

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

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