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Yosemite Officials Investigate After 2 Visitors Die In Fall

October 26, 2018 - 5:17 am
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By OLGA R. RODRIGUEZ ,  Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Officials at Yosemite National Park are investigating Friday the deaths of two people who fell from a popular overlook that allows visitors to walk to the cliff's edge, where there is no railing, an official said.

The bodies of a man and a woman were spotted by another tourist Wednesday, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. It's still unclear when the pair fell and from what spot at Taft Point, which is 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the famed Yosemite Valley floor, he said. They have not been identified.

Railings only exist at a small portion of the overlook, which is popular for its breathtaking views of the valley, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan and fissures on the granite rock that plunge to the valley floor.

More than 10 people have died at the park this year, some from natural causes and others from falls, Gediman said.

Last month, an Israeli teenager fell hundreds of feet to his death while hiking near the top of 600-foot-tall (180-meter-tall) Nevada Fall. The death of 18-year-old Tomer Frankfurter was considered an accident, the Mariposa County coroner's office said.

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 trying 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.