LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Yosemite National Park crews have re-routed roads around the base of the towering El Capitan granite formation after a series of at least eight rock falls over two days killed one man and injured two other people, a park spokesman said on Thursday.
The latest slide, which took place at about 3:20 p.m. Pacific time (6:20 p.m. EDT) on Thursday afternoon, was the largest yet and injured one person, who was airlifted from Yosemite valley to a local hospital, spokesman Scott Gediman said.
That victim was not identified by park officials and his or her condition was unknown.
On Wednesday there were seven known rock falls from El Capitan, the first of which brought some 1,300 tons of granite down onto a popular hiking trial, killing a British climber and badly injuring his wife.
The dead man was identified on Thursday as 32-year-old Andrew Foster of Wales. His wife, who was not identified by name, was undergoing treatment at an area hospital after being airlifted out of the park.
Gediman said two other people were initially believed missing but were later accounted for by search and rescue teams.
El Capitan, one of Yosemite’s best-known landmarks, is considered a world-class challenge for rock climbers.
The rock slides caused park officials to re-route roads near El Capitan, although all roads remained open in the park. Geologists were at the scene on Thursday assessing the size and weight of the latest slide, he said.
Gediman said the slides were not an unusual occurrence in Yosemite, which sees about 80 rock falls a year, but most do not cause injuries or deaths.
Sixteen people have been killed and 100 others injured in rock falls since park records began in 1857. The last fatality was in June 1999, when climber Peter Terbush was killed below Glacier Point.
Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Michael Perry