Vernal Fall is one of the spectacular waterfalls that dot California's Yosemite National Park.
Visitors to the waterfall usually gather behind protective barricades. But yesterday, the hikers climbed over, hoping to snap memorable photos close to the precipice.
INSIDE EDITION spoke with Jake Bibee and Amanda Law, who were visiting the fall at the same time.
"They probably, like me, did not understand that it's powerful forces of nature there," Law said.
A tragic chain reaction followed.
"One fell in. Next fell in trying to help the first one who was a female, and the third, I believe it was a younger man, fell in trying to help the first two that had fallen in," Bibee said.
The victims are 22-year-old Hormiz David, 27-year-old Nenos Yacoub, and 21-year-old Ramina Badal.
"The hardest part about what I saw was the man's face. I had locked in on his eyes, and I had never seen fear on a man's face like that," said Bibee.
The hikers were part of a group of religious young people on a church retreat. Members of their church in Modesto, California, are mourning the loss of their own.
1500 people a day make the hike up to Vernal Fall. The area is plastered with warnings, because a fall over the precipice is considered "not survivable." Twelve people have gone over in the past, and none survived.
The Yosemite tragedy is a reminder of how these breathtaking national wonders demand respect.