Anna Bachman wanted to cap off her San Diego vacation with a photo taken near a cliff overlooking a beach at sunset.
What should have been a treasured travel memory turned to tragedy when Bachman lost her balance and fell backwards to her death as she posed for her sister.
Bachman, a 25-year-old visiting from Chicago, died Sunday afternoon by tumbling about 50 feet from one of the city's picturesque cliffs to the shore below, the New York Daily News reported.
Two nurses who witnessed the fall ran to Bachman's rescue as did two surfers in the water. Rescue crews arrived a few minutes later and pronounced Bachman dead at the scene, WLS-TV reported.
The area where Bachman fell, Sunset Cliffs, is known for its jagged sandstone cliffs that can be unstable. There are numerous warning signs nearby..
Resident Alycia Van Dover said tourists often get dangerously close to the edge.
"My worry is they're ignorant about how the cliffs work. Some of them are overhangs and if you get too close, you don't want it to erode underneath you," she told NBC San Diego.
Officers do not believe alcohol was involved, Channel 10 News reported.
Bachman was working on a master's degree in urban planning and policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.