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Camera Sitting on Tripod Led to Discovery of Couple's Bodies

Vishnu Viswanath's brother says they were taking a selfie when they fell at Yosemite
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 31, 2018 7:50 AM CDT
This photo obtained from Facebook posted on June 26, 2017, shows a selfie of Vishnu Viswanath, right, and his wife Meenakshi Moorthy at Skydive Santa Barbara in Lompoc, Calif.   (Vishnu Viswanath/Facebook via AP)
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(Newser) – The couple who fell to their deaths in Yosemite National Park last week did so while taking a selfie, Vishnu Viswanath's brother said Tuesday. Viswanath, 29, and his wife, 30-year-old Meenakshi Moorthy, set up their tripod near a ledge at a scenic overlook in the California park, Jishnu Viswanath tells the AP. Visitors saw the camera the next morning and alerted park rangers, who "used high-powered binoculars to find them and used helicopters to airlift the bodies," he said. Rangers found their bodies about 800 feet below Taft Point. In an eerie coincidence, another couple who hiked to Taft Point captured pictures of Moorthy prior to her fall, saying she appears in the background of two of their selfies.

Sean Matteson said Moorthy stood out from the crowd enjoying sunset at the overlook because her hair was dyed bright pink. He said she made him a little nervous because she was close to the edge. "She was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself," said Matteson. "She gave me the willies. There aren't any railings. ... But she seemed comfortable. She didn't seem like she was in distress or anything." The travel advice website MyYosemitePark.com posted a photo of Taft Point to illustrate its "bad selfies" list, warning tourists: "Don't pose on top of a huge granite drop-off." It added, "It would only take a loose rock or bad footing to plummet." The AP has more on their adrenaline-fueled adventures here, or read about an eerie question Moorthy posed.

(Read more death by selfie stories.)

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