There was unexpected news during the week of October 29, when it was reported that a couple died while taking a selfie at Yosemite National Park. The couple’s bodies were discovered after other tourists encountered their empty camera equipment and reported the incident to the staff. It was reported that the park rangers had to use high-powered binoculars to find them.
The bodies were found about 800 ft below Taft Point, and the recovery operation required technical climbing, rappelling techniques, and a helicopter from the California Highway Patrol.
This couple had more than 10,000 Instagram followers. They documented their travels, and they had traveled all over Europe, including to Venice, the leaning tower of Pisa, and at the Vatican.
Yosemite Park spokespearn, Scott Gerdiman had stated that more 10 people have died at Yosemite Park this year.
The couple’s names, Meenakashi Moorthy and Vishnu Viswanath, were revealed a few days after their bodies were retrieved. Moorthy was considered to be a “quirky free spirit” and an “ardent adrenaline junkie” and she had described her husband Vishnu as being “travel obsessed.”
The couple were both born in Indian and had lived in United States for a few years. They attended the College of Engineering, in the Alappuzha district of India’s Kerala state, and graduated together in 2010. One of their professors, Nisha Kuruvilla, had said that both Moorthy and Viswanath were both very good students and had gotten married at a Hindu temple in Kerala in southern India about 4 years ago.
While it is unclear how the couple fell to their death, their social media posts support the conclusion that the couple was taking a selfie which caused the fall.
The couple were known to take dangerous and risky photos. For example, in one photo, Moorthy posed at the edge of the Grand Canyon in a Wonder Woman costume. They did this even though Moorthy had talked multiple times about how fatal and dangerous a selfie can be, and advise her followers to not take those risks.
In one of Moorthy posts, she wrote “A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliff–skyscrapers. But did you know that wind gust can be FATAL? Is our life worth one photo?”
On the day to their death, a few hours earlier, another couple hiked to Taft Point too and were able to snap a photo of Moorthy. It was the last photo of her before she died. Sean Mattheson, the man who took the photo of him and his wife said, “She[Moorthy] was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself. She gave me the willies. There aren’t any railings. I was not going to get that close to the edge. But she seemed comfortable. She didn’t seem like she was in distress or anything.”
A study, published in October, in The Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, said 259 people died taking selfies between October 2011 to November 2017. It was reported that a few of the main causes of selfie deaths included: people drowning, being washed away by waves, falling from a boat, posing in front of a train, falling from high places, or taking pictures with dangerous animals.