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‘Is our life worth one photo?’ asked Indian daredevil Meenakshi Moorthy, who plunged to death with husband while taking selfie on Yosemite cliff

  • Meenakshi Moorthy, who aspired to be a full-time travel blogger, is seen in background of fellow hiker’s photo before her deadly US fall last week
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 6:21am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2018, 9:33am

“Is our life just worth one photo?” asked Meenakshi Moorthy in an Instagram post seven months ago, showing her dangling her legs over the Grand Canyon.

The question proved prescient.

Moorthy, 30, and husband Vishnu Viswanath, 29, were taking a selfie from a popular overlook at Yosemite National Park in the western US when the Indian couple fell to their deaths, Viswanath’s brother said Tuesday.

Park rangers recovered their bodies on Thursday about 245 metres below Taft Point, where visitors can walk to the edge of a vertigo-inducing granite ledge that doesn’t have a railing.

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CHASING SUNSETS or CHASING LIKES ??? ... Sooo today on #socialmediabadasstribe we are talking about limits of #doitforthegram.Yeah sure it can be limitless but guys, we reaaaallly need to have boundaries(this is handy as life lessons too but we will revisit that later) 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??? ☠️ Is our life just worth one photo? ... When we squirm at another selfie attempt gone south from a skyscraper, let’s remember to save that in our core memory and not the memory dump (I am still on the Inside Out train y'all ) Same applies when we get our knickers in a twist and hog a spot till we get the perfect shot I know I know, I am guilty as charged for all of this ‍♀️ and if I didn’t have Mr. Two Goody Shoes, Vishnu with me, I am not even sure if I would have written this post. ... Let us all try to be responsible digital citizens and use our “numbers” to be transparent and honest, shall we? None of us is perfect and the more we accept it and share our flaws as much as our wins, we are one step closer to creating a sane social media without the scary brouhahas. ... Still there? Woohoo, a backflip is in order, or wait maybe a pizza? What about a unicorn ice-cream with some Disney-approved cotton candy and pixie dust infused sprinkles ‍♀️ if…..IF you could tell me the one time you were effin’ proud of being candid and real AF in social media? ... PS - Not sponsored but sweatshirt is from @radearthsupply • • • #grandcanyonnps #northrim #instagramaz #visitarizona #travelarizona #shotzdelight #discovertheroad #usaroadtrip #visittheusa #outdoorsusa #exploretheusa #womenwhoexplore #iamtb #radparks #thediscoverer #gtgi #sheisnotlost #wearetravelgirls #hikemore #radgirlslife #travelreality #dreamscape @womenwhoexplore @visit_arizona @visittheusa @shotzdelight

A post shared by TravelCreatives️Minaxi+Vishnu (@holidaysandhappilyeverafters) on Mar 28, 2018 at 8:45am PDT

Viswanath, who Cisco India said was a software engineer at the company’s San Jose, California, headquarters, and Moorthy had set up their tripod near the ledge on Tuesday evening, Viswanath’s brother, Jishnu Viswanath, told The Associated Press.

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Park visitors the next morning saw the camera and alerted rangers, who “used high-powered binoculars to find them and used helicopters to airlift the bodies,” he said.

In an eerie coincidence, a man who had hiked to the same spot with his girlfriend captured pictures of Meenakshi prior to her fall, saying she accidentally appears in the background of two of their selfie photos.

She was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself. She gave me the willies. There aren’t any railings
Hiker Sean Matteson

Sean Matteson said Meenakshi stood out from the crowd enjoying the sunset atop Taft Point last week because her hair was dyed bright pink and that she made him a little nervous because he felt she was standing too close to the edge.

“She was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself,” said Matteson, who lives in Oakland, California. “She gave me the willies. There aren’t any railings. I was not about to get that close to the edge. But she seemed comfortable. She didn’t seem like she was in distress or anything.”

Matteson said Moorthy’s pink-haired visage appears in the background of two photos he snapped of himself and his girlfriend Drea Rose Laguillo. He said Laguillo noticed that Moorthy had been captured in their images on Monday after pictures of the two victims were published.

Matteson said he doesn’t recall noticing Viswanath when he and his girlfriend were at the overlook with less than a dozen other tourists. The couple left the overlook as darkness was approaching, Matteson said.

The Indian couple’s funeral will take place in the US because the bodies were not in a condition to be flown back to India, Jishnu Viswanath said.

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The couple was “travel-obsessed,” Moorthy wrote on a blog called “Holidays and HappilyEverAfters” filled with photos of them in front of snowy peaks, the Eiffel Tower and tulip fields. Moorthy had wanted to work full time as a travel blogger, Viswanath said.

“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 warned on an Instagram post with a photo of her sitting on the edge of the Grand Canyon. “Is our life just worth one photo?”

The couple graduated in 2010 from the College of Engineering, Chengannur, in Alapuzha district of Kerala state, said one of their professors, Dr Nisha Kuruvilla.

She said Moorthy and Viswanath were both good students who were fond of travelling and had married at a Hindu temple in Kerala in southern India four years ago.

Yosemite spokeswoman Jamie Richards said in a statement that park officials were investigating the deaths and that the investigation could take several days.

In India, after a rash of selfie-related deaths, the Tourism Ministry in April asked state government officials to safeguard tourists by installing signs in areas where accidents had occurred declaring them “no-selfie zones.”