Harrowing stories are emerging about two massive rockfalls at Yosemite National Park that killed one man and injured at least two others this week.
A British tourist died Wednesday while climbing the park’s El Capitan monolith, and U.K. media reports quoted relatives saying the man was killed while trying to save his wife.
Another fall occurred Thursday. The wife of the man injured during that rockfall described the tense moments in which debris blanketed their vehicle and sent them and others scrambling for cover.
Rachel Evans was with her husband, Jim, who was driving, and her sister and brother-in-law when massive chunks of rock separated from El Capitan and dropped hundreds of feet to the ground below, Evans told KSEE.
“Something came through our sunroof, but we didn’t know it was closed. We didn’t know what had happened, but it shattered and dust just poured in,” a visibly shaken Evans told the station. “So we were trying to outrun it and was like, ‘Go! Let’s go!’ and at the same time, my husband reached up and was like, ‘Oh, my head. My head,” because he was bleeding profusely.”
Thursday’s rockfall was believed to be larger than the deadly fall the previous day.
“It could’ve been a lot worse,” said Ken Yager, president of the Yosemite Climbing Assn., who saw the aftermath of Thursday’s incident. “From what I hear, we got really lucky.”
A rock the size of a golf ball could be fatal, he said, and he estimated Thursday’s fall was “10 times bigger” than the colossal chunk that broke off a day earlier.
“That anybody survived, it just blows my mind,” he said.
Yager was coordinating a park cleanup Thursday when he saw a dust cloud, from about a mile…