YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. -- Two months after three hikers slipped into the Merced River and went over Vernal Fall, searchers resumed the hunt for the bodies of two who have not been found.
Ramina Badal, 21; Ninos Yacob, 27; and Hormiz "Nenos" David, 22, fell into the river and were swept over the 317-foot fall July 19 while on a day trip to the park with friends.
Search crews found and recovered David's body Aug. 5; searches for Badal and Yacob resumed on Thursday morning.
Park officials could not be reached for comment, but Tony Badal said searchers continue to look for his daughter and his friend, sometimes with trained dogs, in the water below the falls.
Divers will enter the water when it's safe; he said that would be when the flow drops below 50 cubic feet per second. That could be any day now, as the falls have slowed considerably in the past few weeks.
It was a particularly deadly year at Yosemite, with 20 fatalities at the park. The circumstances of the deaths varied, with some hikers falling and others being swept into creeks swollen by record snowmelt.
Park rangers have said they do not plan any changes to Yosemite's safety measures.
Alton Johnson, visiting the park from Santa Monica, Calif., this week, agreed.
"I'm one of those people who think people should take responsibility for themselves," he said.
But Johnson and his hiking companion, Elizabeth Smith, said they understand the families' frustrations.
"It seems like there's a lot more fatalities this year," said Smith, who lost a childhood friend in Yosemite several years ago. She and Johnson said they could understand the families' pain, and noted people wandering around on the other side of safety railings Monday.
Badal said his family is holding together, but the uncertainty is hard.
"We're still hanging in there," he said. "But we just don't know."
(c)2011 The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.)
Visit The Modesto Bee (Modesto, Calif.) at www.modbee.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services