The couple who fell to their deaths at Yosemite National Park on Oct. 24 was taking a selfie, according to a relative.
The couple plunged from a 1,000-foot cliff that’s a popular place to view the park, according to the National Park Service.
With only a small railing at the peak of the overlook, visitors are free to venture right up to the cliff’s edge.
Park rangers recovered the bodies of 29-year-old Vishnu Viswanath and 30-year-old Meenakshi Moorthy on Oct. 25.
Viswanath’s brother Jishnu Viswanath said they were taking a selfie when they fell. They had set up their tripod near the ledge on Oct. 23, he said on Oct. 30.
Park visitors the next morning saw the camera and alerted rangers, who “used high-powered binoculars to find them and used helicopters to airlift the bodies,” he said.
Yosemite Park spokesman Jamie Richards told the San Francisco Chronicle that the cause of the fall still had to be determined.
“We still do not know what caused them to fall,” Richards said. “We’re trying to understand what happened. We may never know, (but) from everything we see, this was a tragic fall.”
Ten people have died in Yosemite this year, six of whom fell to their deaths.
Captured in Background
Moorthy was captured in the background of pictures taken by another couple.
“She was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself,” said Sean Matteson, who was taking pictures with his girlfriend.
“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.”
The College of Engineering, Chengannur, in India, said the couple graduated from its computer science and engineering program.
The Indian couple was self-described as “travel-obsessed,” with Moorthy documenting their trips on a blog and Instagram.
“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 with a photo of her sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon. “Is our life just worth one photo?”
Moorthy had wanted to work full time as a travel blogger, Viswanath said.
A friend told the Chronicle that the couple had lived in New York but moved to California after Viswanath took a job with San Jose-based Cisco Systems. The friend said the couple was driving from New York to California and seeing sights on the way.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.