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Indian techie couple falls to death in Yosemite park

Facebook photo by Vishnu Viswanath.

New York, Oct 30 (IANS) An Indian couple, who had gushed in a travel blog about how much they loved “daredevilry” or standing on the edge of cliffs, died after falling 800 feet in an area with very steep terrain in California’s Yosemite National Park this week, the media reported.

Vishnu Viswanath, 29, and Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, were identified on Monday as the married couple who fell to their deaths from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park last week, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

Viswanath and Moorthy, both software engineers, were from India and were living in the US. They had recently moved from New York after Viswanath took a job as a systems engineer at Cisco Systems Inc., based in San Jose.

Rangers recovered their bodies on steep terrain on Thursday below Taft Point, an area known for its spectacular views of the Yosemite Valley, Yosemite Falls, and El Capitan, said park spokesman Jamie Richards. Visitors spotted the couple’s bodies on Wednesday.

According to the National Park Service, Taft Point is an area with very steep terrain. It is also a popular spot for tourists trying to take scenic and memorable photos.

It was not clear how the couple fell or what they were doing when the accident occurred, the report said. A friend of the couple said they were on a driving trip from New York and were seeing the sights in California at the time.

The couple also ran a blog called Holidays and Happily Ever Afters, chronicling their adventures around the world. They shared their photos in beautiful places, along with a warning of travel dangers.

“A lot of us including yours truly is a fan of daredevilry attempts of standing at the edge of cliffs and skyscrapers,” they wrote in an Instagram post in March from the rim of the Grand Canyon, “but did you know that wind gusts can be fatal??? Is our life just worth one photo?”

“We still do not know what caused them to fall. We’re trying to understand what happened. We may never know, (but) from everything we see, this was a tragic fall,” said the park spokesman.

Raj Katta, 24, of New York, said he got to know the couple while attending Bradley University in Illinois. “They liked to travel and take pictures… They were really into this stuff,” Katta said, adding that he was “certain it was a tragic accident, not a suicide”.

The park spokesman said 10 people died in the park this year. Six of those park visitors fell to their deaths. “Yosemite is a wild and scenic place. If you are not paying attention to your footing, it is very easy to have a slip and fall.”


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