Yosemite National Park, CA — A teenager who fell 600 feet to his death last fall from one of Yosemite’s iconic waterfalls was reportedly trying to mimic a popular social media photograph when he fell.
Documents provided to Associated Press on Monday, following a Freedom of Information Act request, indicate that 18-year-old Tomer Frankfurter of Jerusalem, Israel was with a group about to hike down when he handed his phone to a woman and asked her to take a photo of him hanging over the edge near the top of Nevada Fall.
The tragic incident happened Sept. 4 last year, as reported here, but few other details were released at the time other than he had been on a multi-month trip.
According to the documents made available to AP, witnesses told investigators the woman he asked to take photos snapped some but soon after Frankfurter started to struggle and before falling called for help. While three people reportedly rushed to assist and briefly held him by his arms and hands, he began sweating and slipped from their grip.
Frankfurter had told witnesses he was visiting the U.S. before beginning his compulsory Israeli Army service and that he wanted to reenact a photo often taken by tourists at Telegraph Rock in Rio de Janeiro. The witnesses said they told Frankfurter that in that photo, people dangle from the edge of a rock that is not far from the ground, but he did not listen.
As reported here, it was thought that a couple from India who fell from Yosemite’s Taft Point a month after Frankfurter’s death were taking “selfie” photos as a tripod was found nearby and the pair had posted other pictures they had taken in risky places on social media. A coroner’s report released in January additionally determined that the two had consumed an undetermined amount of alcohol before their deaths.