Hikers Swept Into Yosemite Falls
Rescuers close trail to treacherous spot
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2011 2:21 AM CDT
Updated Jul 20, 2011 3:30 AM CDT
The 137-foot Vernal Fall in Yosemite National Park.   (Wikipedia)

(Newser) – Rescuers are continuing to hunt for hikers believed to have been swept into the thundering Vernal waterfalls in Yosemite National Park. Several witnesses called for help after spotting a man and woman climbing over a waterfall safety rail, reports KSEE 24 News. The couple appeared to be encouraging their children to follow them, but before the youngsters did the man and woman began slipping into the water, said witnesses. Another hiker climbed over the railing to help them, and all three reportedly vanished. Rangers immediately closed the Mist Trail that leads to the popular water spot.

Record snowfalls this year have made Yosemite waterfalls particularly spellbinding—and treacherous. Hikers underestimate the power of the falls, and mist makes trails extremely slippery, reports AP. At least eight people have died in the park this year due to falls or drowning. At least 13 people have died at Vernal Fall since the 1920s. (Click to read about another dangerous waterfall.)