Rockfall in Yosemite Kills Hiker Near El Capitan

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Chunks of granite continued to tumble from El Capitan after a massive rock fall Wednesday killed one person and injured at least one other.

The National Park Service said the victims, a couple visiting from Great Britain, were in the park to rock climb but were not climbing at the time of the initial rockfall weighing approximately 1,300 tons fell.

At least 30 climbers were on El Capitan at the time of the slide, according to USA Today. The size of the rockfall has not yet been determined, she said.

The fatal rock slides appeared to have started near the Waterfall Route, a "popular climbing route" on the east buttress of the famous, almost 3,000-foot granite wall, the NPS said.

The park records about 80 rock falls per year, though they are rarely fatal.

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The piece broke off from the right side of the granite monolith, which rises more than 3,000 feet above Yosemite Valley, near a popular spot for rock climbers. Officials were using a helicopter to search the area for any other people injured in the rockfall, which occurred on a day with clear blue skies at the height of climbing season. "We were on the summit of Half Dome when we saw this".

Officials said the park remains open and visitor services were unaffected by the incident.

Officials at the park said Wednesday that they were searching for more victims after the rock fall at El Capitan, but had reported no more several hours after the dead and injured person was found.

He has tried to reduce the hazard of rockfalls by moving buildings and places where hikers congregate away from cliffs from which rocks might tumble, according to the Smithsonian.