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Deadly Yosemite Rockfall Shakes Park Community

Sep 28, 2017

UPDATE:

A second giant rockfall's been reported out of Yosemite National Park. Thursday afternoon, at around 3:20 p.m., a large portion of rock fell off of El Capitan, a giant rock formation in the park popular among rock climbers.

 

Park officials say it was larger than Wednesday's slide and that one injured person was helicoptered out. Climbers who saw the fall say it was like watching a four story apartment building slide right off the mountain.

 

Alec Wright and his buddies are spending a few weeks in the park rock climbing. After the rockfall Wright ran into the billowing cloud of dust.

 

WRIGHT: “I ran into the dust cloud itself and just heard some people crying for help. I couldn’t see more than a few feet in front of me. Dust everywhere. The whole road was covered and the first thing I see is a man covered in blood from about head to his waste clutching the side of his head with his wife crying out for help.”

Wright went on to bring the man to paramedics. Wednesday's rock slide killed one person and injured another. The couple were visiting the park from Wales. The victim has been identified as 32-year-old Andrew Foster from Wales. His wife is being treated in an area hospital.

 

While rockfalls are common in Yosemite, this was the first one to result in a death since 1999. Around 80 rock falls happen in Yosemite every year. A total of 16 people have died in the park due to rockfalls since records began in 1857. Park staff were rerouting traffic out of the park yesterday and all roads remain open in the area.

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New information is coming out today about the series of rockfalls that took place in Yosemite yesterday, killing one and seriously injuring another. Park officials say a total of seven rockfalls took place on El Capitan, including a section of granite 130 feet tall and 65 feet wide.  

The victims were a couple visiting the park from the United Kingdom. They were not climbing at the time of the initial rockfall. The man died at the scene, while the woman was airlifted out of Yosemite Valley with serious injuries. The National Park Service is working with the British Consulate to notify family members. The names of the victims have not yet been released.

While rockfalls are common in Yosemite, this was the first one to result in a death since 1999. Around 80 rockfalls happen in Yosemite every year. A total of 16 people have died in the park due to rockfalls since records began in 1857.

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