Subhradeep Dutta made his love of the outdoors clear. Photos and check-ins at landmarks across the United States, including Rocky Mountain National Park, Mount Rainier and Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend peppered his Facebook page. On Simbi, a skill-sharing site, the 28-year-old listed a nice hike as among his top interests.
“I really enjoy traveling and exploring new places,” wrote Dutta, a firmware engineer from Edina.
Dutta was visiting Muir Woods, another popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts just north of San Francisco, on Christmas Eve when tragedy struck. A 200-foot-tall redwood toppled without warning during a late afternoon hike, pinning him to the ground. He died at the scene.
A woman walking with the group was hit by branches and taken to a hospital for treatment, while a third hiker escaped unharmed, according to park officials.
A spokesman for the park said “wet ground from recent winter storms” may have contributed to what he described as a “very rare and isolated event.”
“The National Park Service extends its thoughts and prayers to all those involved,” spokesman Charles Strickfaden said. The incident at Muir Woods National Monument, a popular Northern California destination known for its abundance of centuries-old trees, made national news. Officials said the park, which attracts nearly a million visitors a year, would remain open to the public, save for a section of the trail where staff was still removing debris.
A spokesman declined to provide additional interviews or information about the victims, citing privacy concerns. Dutta’s death was confirmed by the Marin County coroner. The identities of the two other hikers have not been released.
Few details about Dutta had emerged by late Thursday.
Social-media profiles suggest he hailed from India, where he graduated from Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan university before working as a systems engineer for an Indian IT company. In his spare time, he volunteered for a nonprofit working to enroll underprivileged children in school.
In 2016, he enrolled in a graduate program at the University of Colorado Boulder. He graduated with a master of science in electrical engineering in the summer of 2018, a university spokeswoman confirmed.
A job with Seagate Technology, a data-storage technology company with offices in Minnesota, appears to have brought Dutta to the Midwest. He joined the company as a firmware engineer in July 2018, according to his LinkedIn profile. He spent recent months traveling the United States and attending concerts, online posts show. On Simbi, he described himself as “a big time foodie” who enjoyed meeting new people.
In late September, he changed his Facebook profile picture to a portrait taken in front of a mountain range in Estes Park, Colo. He captioned the photo with a quote attributed to writer and traveler Sue Fitzmaurice: “You must go on adventures to find out where you belong.”