Yosemite National Park rangers recover bodies of 2 who fell to deaths from Taft Point
SAN FRANCISCO — Yosemite National Park rangers have recovered the bodies of two people who fell 800 feet (245 meters) from a popular overlook after working to reach them for hours, an official said Friday.
Park spokeswoman Jamie Richards said rangers had to rappel down and climb the steep terrain in Taft Point as they worked to reach the bodies of a male and female. A California Highway Patrol helicopter assisted them, she said.
Officials are investigating when the pair fell and from which spot at the overlook 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the famed Yosemite Valley floor, Richards said. A tourist spotted the victims Wednesday. They have not been identified.
Railings only exist at a small portion of Taft Point, which offers breathtaking views of the valley, Yosemite Falls and towering granite formation El Capitan. Visitors can walk to the edge of a vertigo-inducing granite ledge that does not have a railing and has become a popular spot for dramatic engagement and wedding photos.
More than 10 people have died at the park this year, six of them from falls and the others from natural causes, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. An 18-year-old Israeli man accidentally fell hundreds of feet to his death last month while hiking near the top of 600-foot-tall (180-meter-tall) Nevada Fall.
In 2015, world-famous wingsuit flier Dean Potter and partner Graham Hunt died after jumping from Taft Point in an attempt to clear a V-shaped notch in a ridgeline. They were at flying in wingsuits but crashed.
The activity is the most extreme form of BASE jumping, which stands for jumping off buildings, antennas, spans (such as bridges) and Earth and is illegal in the park.