Rockfalls kill 1 British tourist in American famous national park

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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- A series of rockfalls occurred in American Yosemite National Park in two days, killing one British tourist and forcing the authorities to close the Northside drive exiting Yosemite Valley, the National Park Service (NPS) announced Thursday afternoon.

The first "sheet" of rock, which fell and killed the Briton on Wednesday, was estimated to be 130 feet (40 meters) tall and 65 feet (20 meters) wide, the press release from Yossemite NPS said.

According to the press release, since the initial one fell, eight rockfalls occurred until Thursday from the Southeast face of El Capitan, which is a granite monolith extending about 3,000 feet (914 meters) from base to summit along its tallest face and is one of the world's favorite challenges for rock climbers.

Yosemite National Park rangers and the search and rescue team entered the area after the incident, looking for people at the base of the rockfalls. Two people were found, one dead and the other seriously injured, whose names were not released.

Photos posted on social media by witnesses showed a plume of dust billowing from the rock formation after the fatal crash.

Peter Zabrok, 58, a climber making his 58th El Capitan climbs, said in a Facebook video: "I've never seen anything like that."

In total, officials estimated that about 1,300 tons of rocks fell from El Capitan on Wednesday.

Connie Tran, a female reporter who witnessed the latest rock fell on Thursday afternoon, tweeted: "Another rock fall near El Capitan in Yosemite. My photographer and I witnessed the whole ordeal, it was so loud, thunderous."

Rockfalls are a common occurrence in Yosemite Valley and the park records about 80 rockfalls per year, There have now been 16 fatalities and more than 100 injuries from rockfalls since park records began in 1857, the NPS reported.

Even though the Northside route was closed, Yosemite National Park remains open and visitor services are not affected by the rockfalls.

Yosemite is a national park located in Northern California, covering an area of more than 3,000 km and reaching across the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. On average, about 4 million people visit the national park each year. Enditem

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