Deaths of 2 who fell from Yosemite ledge under investigation

(AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers, File)
In this Sept. 27 file photo a wedding couple are seen being photographed at Taft Point in California’s Yosemite National Park. A Yosemite National Park official says two visitors have died in a fall from the popular overlook. Park rangers are trying to recover the bodies of a man and a woman Thursday, Oct.25. He didn’t say when the couple fell from Taft Point. Gediman says the deaths are being investigated and offered no other information. (AP Photo/Amanda Lee Myers, File)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The deaths of two people who fell from a popular Yosemite National Park overlook were being investigated Friday by park officials who were still working to recover the bodies.

Visitors can walk to the edge of a vertigo-inducing granite ledge without railings that has become a popular spot for photos posted on social media but it’s still unclear when the pair fell and from which spot at Taft Point, which is 3,000 feet (900 meters) above the famed Yosemite Valley floor, park spokesman Scott Gediman said. The victims have not been identified.

The bodies of the man and a woman who plunged off the ledge were spotted by another tourist on Wednesday, Gediman said.

Railings only exist at a small portion of the overlook, which has breathtaking views of the valley, Yosemite Falls and El Capitan and fissures on the granite rock that drop to the valley floor. The promontory 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, 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 were experienced at flying in wingsuits — the most extreme form of BASE jumping — and crashed after trying to clear a V-shaped notch in a ridgeline.

BASE jumping stands for jumping off buildings, antennas, spans (such as bridges) and Earth and 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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