Yosemite National Park, CA Rock Slide Kills Three, Nov 1980


Yosemite National Park, Calif. (AP) -- Boulders the size of pickup trucks crashed down on weekend hikers on the hairpin turns of a trail near Yosemite Falls, killing three and injuring seven, park officials said.
The rock slide, onto the 7.7 kilometre trail about one kilometre below the top of the famed 825-metre waterfall, left a "big blank space" on the face on the mountain, said Mary Niles, librarian at Yosemite National Park. Debris was scattered over a 600-metre section of the tortuous trail.
About two dozen hikers were on the trail when the slide rumbled down Sunday, said Linda Abbott, a National Parks Service spokeswoman.
Hiker JOHN WEISS said he and a companion took refuge under an overhang and were protected from "rocks the size of RVs (recreational vehicles)."
"Big trees were broken right in half," said another hiker. "There's no more trail in that area."
Abbott said the slide stranded eight people at the top of the mountain for several hours. They and the injured were evacuated by helicopter, she said.
The body of one of the dead hikers was removed by nightfall Sunday, and the other two were to be removed today, park officials said.
Five of the injured were taken to hospitals in Modesto and Fresno, while two others were treated at Yosemite Hospital and released.

Lethbridge Herald Alberta Canada 1980-11-17