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Recovered bodies are those of hikers
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YOSEMITE - A Yosemite National Park ranger on a routine Friday patrol in the Vernal Falls area discovered a body, the remains of one of two missing Valley hikers. A second body was discovered the next day.

The body discovered Friday was recovered by a swift-water rescue team and was taken to the Mariposa County Sheriff's Coroner's Office for an autopsy. The remains were identified as those of Ninos Yacoub, 27, of Turlock.

The remains discovered on Saturday were those of 21-year-old Ramina Badal of Manteca.

The two were among three hikers who were swept to their deaths over the 317-foot waterfall July 19 during an outing of Church of the East, St. George Parish, in Ceres .

The body of Hormiz David, 22, of Modesto, was discovered pinned under a boulder under the base of the waterfall approximately three weeks after the mishap.

According to park officials, the three climbed over a metal guardrail and waded into the water. They stopped about 25 feet from the ledge of the falls to take a photo. Initial reports stated Badal slipped and David tried to grab on to her, but also lost his footing. However, Metra Azar-Salem, who was at the park and a witness to the tragedy, told the Manteca Bulletin that it was David who slipped and Badal grabbed onto him.

Yacoub, who was out in the water to take the photo, tried to rescue both of his friends, but was swept over by the swift moving currents.

Yacoub was a student at California State University, Stanislaus studying chemistry. David was studying music at Modesto Junior College. Badal was pursuing a nursing degree at the University of San Francisco.

Weeks ago the park service halted searches for Badal and Yacoub, saying the forthcoming snow and rain would make conditions too treacherous around the Merced River. However, an extended dry spell has kept the river's water level lower than expected, allowing for additional searches.

The ranger spotted Yacoub's body near the falls between some rocks.