Record snowmelt has made Yosemite National Park especially treacherous this summer. As KTVU reports, three hikers from the Modesto area were swept over the edge of the park's famous 317-foot Vernal Falls this morning after ignoring warnings posted on barricades near the falls. The park visitors had waded in to the extra-high Merced River to pose for photographs on a rock just above the falls when one of them slipped and fell in. An eyewitness describes the harrowing event to KTVU:
[T]he woman started to slip...He reached for her and fell in. Then another one tried to help and she falls in the water. We literally watched them get swept over the edge of Vernal Falls.
Other witnesses alerted park rangers and 911 who closed the popular Mist trail while a search and rescue unit recovered the deceased. The incident is the third water accident in Yosemite this season. Two other hikers drowned in Hetch Hetchy back in June and another hiker slipped and fell in to the river on the same trail back in May.