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Couple killed when motorcycle hits road sign in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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A couple visiting Great Smoky Mountains National Park was killed Sunday in a motorcycle crash along the park’s scenic Foothills Parkway, according to the National Park Service.

The victims were identified as Benjamin Braunsdorf, 50, of Seymour, Tennessee, and Wendy Fitzgibbon, 46, of Knoxville, Tennessee, according to a news release.

Investigators say Braunsdorf and Fitzgibbon were riding on one motorcycle when it went out of control around 7 p.m.

The bike left the pavement and collided with a road sign near the intersection of Foothills Parkway and U.S. 321, officials said. Both died at the scene, park officials said.

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The incident remains under investigation.

It counts as the second fatal motorcycle crash this year in the park. In April, a 20-year-old man from Guatemala was killed when his motorcycle plunged 100 feet off the road that leads to Clingmans Dome overlook, McClatchy News reported.

At least five people visiting the park have died in single-vehicle crashes in 2021, according to the NPS.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the “highest visitation of any of the 59 national parks,” with more than 12 million visitors last year, officials say.

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