The couple who fell to their deaths from Taft Point at Yosemite National Park in California were apparently taking a selfie, the recently identified man’s brother said yesterday. Park rangers recovered the bodies of Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, on Thursday from about 800 feet below the popular outlook.
Viswanath’s brother, Jishnu Viswanath, said the couple had set up their tripod near the ledge on Tuesday evening. On Wednesday morning, park visitors saw the camera and alerted rangers, he said. A helicopter from the California Highway Patrol assisted the rangers in removing the bodies late Thursday afternoon. The park said both were citizens of India who were living in the United States.
The couple moved to the Bay Area from New York City in June. They traveled extensively throughout the past few years, visiting more than a dozen states and several countries, including Italy, France, Belgium, and the Maldives.
The park said Tuesday it could not confirm Jishnu Viswanath’s account and they have not yet determined what caused the couple to fall.
Sean Matteson, who hiked to the same spot with his girlfriend, Drea Rose Laguillo, captured pictures of Moorthy prior to her fall. She appears in the background of two of selfie photos.
“She was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself,” said Matteson, who lives in Oakland, California. “She gave me the willies. There aren’t any railings. I was not about to get that close to the edge. But she seemed comfortable. She didn’t seem like she was in distress or anything.”
Moorthy wrote on a blog titled “Holidays and HappilyEverAfters” and documented the pair’s travels on an Instagram account of the same name. She wanted to work full time as a travel blogger.
“A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs and skyscrapers, but did you know that wind gusts can be FATAL???” Moorthy wrote on an Instagram post in March with a photo of her sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon. “Is our life just worth one photo?”
The funeral will take place in the U.S. since the bodies were not in a condition to be flown back to India, Jishnu Viswanath said.