Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto, Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock and Ramina Badal, 21, of Modesto are all presumed dead, Yosemite park officials stated on Wednesday, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The paper reports that the hikers were on a day trip with friends at the top of Vernal Falls when they climbed over a guardrail and fell over the waterfall. The search-and-rescue effort reportedly lasted until Wednesday morning, but teams are continuing their search for the victims.
According to Fox 40 News, the Mist Trail was closed Tuesday night and Wednesday morning for search and rescue efforts, but is now back open.
Park officials began their search for the hikers at Yosemite National Park on Tuesday afternoon.
At that time, the Associated Press reported that Yosemite officials received emergency calls from witnesses who saw hikers go into the water and over the 317-foot Vernal Falls. At the top of the path to Vernal Falls, a guardrail separates Yosemite visitors from the water.
Earlier reports from witnesses provided varied accounts of what happened:
Witness Jacob Bibee told CNN affiliate KGPE-TV, “I saw the man’s eyes when he went over the falls. That was devastating."
Bibee told the Associated Press in a news update that he saw a man on the far side of the safety railing holding a screaming girl as another girl took their picture. Two more people crossed the barricade to pose for photos, and the woman slipped and fell. A man and another women fell in, trying to help.
Witness Dean Sabo told KGPE, “I saw two that were holding each other and one that was floating alone through the water. And the reason that I looked was because this woman was screaming, running along the edge of the water."
NBC Fresno affiliate KSEE reports that, according to witnesses, a man and woman climbed over the guardrail for a better view, and possibly encouraged their children to go over as well. The man and woman began to slip before the children climbed over. Another man jumped over the guardrail to help, but also fell over the edge, KSEE reports.
In June, two hikers died after falling into the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir at Yosemite National Park.
According to the Associated Press, record snowfall has created "breathtaking" waterfalls at Yosemite, and the park carries great beauty, from lunar rainbows to meditative cascades. But there are dangers involved, and visitors don't realize the slippery trail conditions or the force of the water, especially given the additional snowfall.
Record weather has been seen around the globe this year, from snowfalls to heat waves. In June, Rajendar Pachauri, chairman of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, announced that they would release a report in November studying the link between climate change and extreme weather events.
UPDATE 7:10pm -- The Los Angeles Times reports that the Yosemite hikers were members of the Assyrian Church of the East in Modesto, as confirmed by a post to the church's Facebook page. Ramina Badal was from Manteca. Earlier reports incorrectly stated that Badal was from Modesto.