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Couple who fell to their deaths at Yosemite were reportedly intoxicated

Selfie may show woman before fatal fall

A couple that fell to their deaths at Yosemite National Park while taking a selfie in October reportedly had alcohol in their systems at the time. The Mercury News reports that according to an autopsy, the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department found the couple were "intoxicated with ethyl alcohol," before they died.

Meenakshi Moorthy, 30, and her husband, Vishnu Viswanath, 29, were Indian expats living in California. Moorthy was a self-described "adrenaline junkie," and the couple took photos for social media and a travel blog called "Holidays & Happily Ever Afters."

Yosemite Deaths
This photo obtained from Facebook posted on June 26, 2017, shows a selfie of Vishnu Viswanath, right, and his wife Meenakshi Moorthy at Skydive Santa Barbara in Lompoc, California. Vishnu Viswanath/Facebook via AP

Visitors found their camera and alerted park rangers. Their bodies were found around 800 feet below Taft Point, a site where visitors can see the Yosemite Valley.

The day before the couple fell, another couple captured photos of Moorthy. Sean Matteson said she stood out from a crowd because of her pink hair and because she was close to the edge.

"She was very close to the edge, but it looked like she was enjoying herself," said Matteson of 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."

The Mercury News also reports the Stanislaus County Coroner's Office concluded that the couple died of multiple injuries to the head, neck, chest and abdomen from the fall.

A study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care said 259 people had died taking selfies between October 2011 and November 2017. The report, based on findings from researchers in India who scoured worldwide media reports, said the main causes of selfie deaths were drowning, usually involving people being washed away by waves or falling from a boat, followed by people killed while posing in front of a moving train, deaths involving falls from high places or while taking pictures with dangerous animals.