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Photos capture rescue following rockfall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park

Photos show the rescue following the rockfall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. (Courtesy: Dakota Snider)

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (FOX26 News) -- Photos in Yosemite National Park show a tragic scene as rescue crews worked to transport a woman to safety after a deadly rockfall.

Dakota Snider captured the intense moments after the rockfall.

Snider says there were more than 30 parties climbing on El Captain Wednesday afternoon.

"Send lots of thoughts to the climbing community right now. We had over 30 parties on El Cap climbing this afternoon. People are getting phone calls today they never wanted to ever receive," Snider wrote on Facebook accompanying the photos.

The rockfall happened just before 2 p.m. Wednesday near the "Waterfall Route", park officials say.

Park officials say a man died and a woman was flown out of the park with serious injuries. They were a couple from Great Britain who were in the park to rock climb but were not climbing at the time of the initial rockfall.

All other people in the area at the time of the rockfall have been accounted for and search efforts have concluded, park officials say.

Park officials say the preliminary estimate for the cumulative volume of all seven rockfalls is about 16,000 cubic feet (450 cubic meters), or about 1,300 tons. The irregular "sheet" of rock that fell is estimated to be 130 feet tall, 65 feet wide, and 3-10 feet thick. The source point is about 650 feet above the base of El Capitan, or about 1,800 feet above the floor of Yosemite Valley (which is at 4,000 feet in elevation).

Waterfall Route is a popular climbing route on the East Buttress of El Capitan. Park officials say rockfalls are common in Yosemite Valley and the park records about 80 rockfalls a year, though many more rockfalls go unreported.

The rockfall from El Captain was similar in size and extent compared with other rockfalls in the park, though park officials say it is not typical that there were victims.

It has been 18 years since the last rockfall-related death in Yosemite National Park, park officials say. Rock climber Peter Terbush was killed by a rockfall from Glacier Point in June of 1999. Since the park began in 1857, park officials say there have been 16 deaths and more than 100 injuries from rockfalls.

Park officials say this is the climbing season in Yosemite National Park and there are many climbers on El Capitan and other climbing routes in the park.

Yosemite National Park remains open and visitor services are not affected.


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