SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A Bay Area couple who fell 800 feet to their deaths off Yosemite National Park’s popular Taft Point last week were taking a selfie moments before the fatal plunge, the victim’s brother said Tuesday.
Speaking to the Associated Press from his home in India, Jishnu Viswanath said his brother — 29-year-old Vishnu Viswanath — had set up a camera tripod near the ledge of the 7,503-foot cliff moments before the fall.
Also killed in the accident was Viswanath’s wife, Meenakshi Moorth. The pair lived in San Jose, where Viswanath used for Cisco India, and were popular travel bloggers who loved to explore the world.
Their Instagram account is filled with travel photos — some taken in risky poses.
“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?”
Park rangers recovered the couple’s bodies on Thursday.
Jishnu Viswanath said the couple’s funeral will take place in the Bay Area since the bodies were not in a condition to be flown back to India.
KPIX 5 found an East Bay man who was recently visiting Yosemite and was shocked to discover he might have taken the last known photo of Meenakshi Moorth.
Ironically, it was a selfie.
When Oakland resident Sean Matteson snapped a selfie just feet from Taft Point, he had no idea it may have been moments before Moorthy and Viswanath plunged to their death. Moorthy can be seen behind Matteson’s shoulder, her distinctive dyed pink hair plainly visible in the photo.
- Selfie May Be Last Photo Of Woman Who Died At Yosemite’s Taft Point
- Photographer Locates Couple Captured In Yosemite Cliff Proposal
- Park Rangers Recover Bodies From Base Of Popular Yosemite Cliff
- Couple Plunges To Their Deaths From Yosemite Cliff Featured In Viral Photo
“It gave me goosebumps to be honest,” said Matteson. “I got the chills. It was very eerie.”
Matteson said his selfie was taken on Sunday, October 21st, just after 5 p.m.
“It seemed like a lot of stories out there, of speculation of when and how and all this stuff,” explained Matteson. “And I guess we just felt that it was incumbent upon us to share our impression of that day and the fact that we saw her in person.”
Matteson said Moorthy appeared to enjoy the scenery from the popular view point. He said he saw Moorthy standing on a lower ledge closer to the edge than he and his girlfriend were standing.
“But yeah, no railings. I mean, it’s very treacherous out there,” said Matteson. “It could be very easy to make one wrong step and be in trouble.”
Moorthy’s husband Viswanath worked for Cisco and they were new to the Bay Area having relocated recently from New York.
On her travel blog, Moorthy wrote “live every moment” and called her husband “an amazing guy.”
“Nothing seemed like anything was wrong or anything like that,” remembered Matteson. “It seemed like they were there doing what they loved to do. That was my impression.”
KPIX 5 reached out to Cisco, which released the following statement: “It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of a Cisco employee, Vishnu Viswanath. As always, we will pull together to extend our support to the employee’s family and our fellow colleagues during this difficult time.”
© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.