YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS SF) — A couple fell to their deaths Thursday from Yosemite National Park’s Taft Point a week after another couple’s proposal at the popular wedding photo backdrop became a social media sensation.
FRIDAY UPDATE: Officials Recover Bodies From Base Of Popular Yosemite Cliff
Park rangers released few details of Thursday’s accident. The deaths ran the total of fatalities in the park over the last six months to eight.
“A male and female visitor died in an apparent fall from Taft Point in Yosemite National Park. Yosemite National Park Rangers are recovering the bodies this morning,” a release stated. “This incident is under investigation and no further details are available.”
Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman says the park is still investigating when the man and woman fell and from what spot at Taft Point, which is at an elevation of 7,500 feet. He says railings only exist at some parts of the overlook.
Taft Point offers breathtaking views of the valley, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan and has fissures on the granite rock that drop to the valley floor. Visitors can walk to the cliff’s edge, where there is no railing.
Gediman says more than 10 people have died this year in Yosemite, some from natural causes and others from falls.
Just last week, freelance photographer Matt Dippel went on social media in search of a couple he inadvertently captured in the background of one of his photos.
Dippel was waiting to take a picture of his friend when a couple walked out onto the cliff and the man dropped to one knee.
“It’s a super-popular place in Yosemite. Really popular for engagements, proposals, weddings,” Dippel told CNN.”There were at least three or four different brides and grooms up there doing their post-wedding photos, so it’s definitely not an uncommon thing to see up there.”
He took a picture of the proposal — and the one he wanted of Josh — and then went to give the couple the picture.
“I ran over to that point after I took the photo to try to figure out who they were and I asked maybe 20 or 25 people and no one came forward.”
When Dippel got home to Grand Rapids, Michigan, he posted the picture on Facebook and asked the internet to help find them.
“Alright Internet I need your help. Help me find these two,” he wrote. “This was taken at Taft Point, in Yosemite National Park on October 6th, 2018. I took this photo and would love for them to find it.”
The post has been shared thousands of times and folks are trying to help Dippel locate the couple.
Taft Point is also where world-famous wingsuit flier Dean Potter and his partner, Graham Hunt, died after leaping from the cliff in 2015. The pair experienced at flying in wingsuits — the most extreme form of BASE jumping — crashed after attempting to clear a V-shaped notch in a ridgeline.
BASE jumping — which stands for jumping off buildings, antennas, spans (such as bridges) and Earth — is illegal in the park.
An investigation concluded that the deaths were accidental. Despite video and photos of the jump, officials consider the specific reason why Potter and Hunt died a mystery.
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