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3 presumed dead after plunge from top of waterfall

Visitors were back yesterday at Vernal Fall, where three people who crossed the barricade were swept away Tuesday. Visitors were back yesterday at Vernal Fall, where three people who crossed the barricade were swept away Tuesday. (Craig Kohlruss/ Fresno Bee via AP File 2010)
Associated Press / July 21, 2011

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. - Young tourists above one of Yosemite National Park’s beautiful and perilous waterfalls were trying to pose for a picture. Instead they burned a horrifying image into the memories of everyone who saw.

A man and a woman crossed a metal barricade above the 317-foot Vernal Fall on Tuesday, making their way over slick granite to a rock in the middle of the swift Merced River.

The woman slipped. The man reached for her and fell in. Another man in their group of about 10 tried to help but fell in as well. Other hikers, including several children, could only watch as the rushing water swept all three over the edge.

The three hikers, all from California, are presumed dead; rescuers continued searching for their bodies yesterday.

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