YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK (CBS SF) – Park rangers have recovered the bodies of a couple from a remote area of Yosemite National Park after they fell to their deaths from a popular cliff used as a backdrop for selfies.
Park spokeswoman Jamie Richards said Friday rangers recovered the bodies of a male and a female on Thursday after working all day to get to them. Richards said she did not know how the rangers reached the bodies but that they worked all day in the “challenging area.”
“The two people fell approximately 800 feet below Taft Point in an area with very steep terrain,” Park officials said in a release. “This recovery operation involved Park Rangers using technical climbing and rappelling techniques…This incident is under investigation and no further details are expected to be available for at least several days.”
The couple tumbled to their death from Taft Point – a towering overlook used as a backdrop for wedding, engagement and dating selfies with more than 14,000 images posted on Instagram alone.
Yosemite spokesman Scott Gediman said the park was still investigating how the man and woman fell and from the cliff which is at an elevation of 7,500 feet. He said railings only exist at some parts of the overlook.
The outlook 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.
A photo shot at the site recently whipped up a social media sensation.
Freelance photographer Matt Dippel took to Facebook and Twitter 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.”
More than 10 people have died at the park this year, six of them from falls and the others from natural causes, park officials said.
An Israeli 18-year-old accidentally fell hundreds of feet to his death last month while hiking near the top of 600-foot-tall Nevada Fall.
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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