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An Even Larger Rockfall Has Struck Yosemite's Famed El Capitan After A Climber Was Killed

Thursday's rockfall was significantly larger than the previous one, park officials said, and resulted in one injury.

Last updated on September 29, 2017, at 12:53 p.m. ET

Posted on September 28, 2017, at 8:15 p.m. ET

Peter Zabrok

A second massive rockfall occurred Thursday at the face of Yosemite National Park's famed El Capitan, just a day after a series of rockfalls killed a British climber.

The latest incident, which park officials said was "significantly larger" than the one that occurred Wednesday, injured one person and prompted the closure of an exit from the park in Yosemite Valley.

The victim was not a climber, Yosemite Park spokesman Scott Gediman told BuzzFeed News. The person was flown out of the area by helicopter and taken to a nearby hospital.

Family members identified the injured man as Jim Evans of Naples, Florida. His wife, Rachel, told KSEE-TV in Fresno that they were driving in a Dodge Durango SUV around 3:15 p.m. below El Capitan when an avalanche of rocks and debris came flying off the mountain side, crashing through the sunroof and striking Jim in the head.

"Something came through our sunroof, but we didn’t know — it was closed — and we didn’t know what had happened, but it shattered and the dust just poured in and we were trying to out run it, it was like, ‘Go! Let’s go!’” she said. "At the same time, my husband reached up and he said, 'Oh my head, my head,” because it was bleeding profusely and hurting."

Rachel Evans tends to her husband, who was struck by falling rock debris at Yosemite.
KSEE-TV / Via yourcentralvalley.com

Rachel Evans tends to her husband, who was struck by falling rock debris at Yosemite.

The couple were actually leaving the park at the time of the rockfall, Evans added. Two other family members who were in the SUV at the time escaped injury.

While the Evans suffered the effects at the bottom of the mountainside, two climbers at the summit were able to capture some of the rockslide from above in a video posted to Instagram.

Peter Zabrok

Peter Zabrok and two other climbers were at the summit of El Capitan when the rocks began falling, which he described as being as big as two apartment buildings.

"We cheated death, we cheated death," Zabrok said in a video captured just moments after the rockfall. "Holy crap, did we cheat death."

Thursday's rockfall sent a large cloud of dust throughout the park.

Gediman said park officials were still working to assess the size of Thursday's rockslide.

#BREAKING: Another rock fall near #ElCapitan in @YosemiteNPS. My photographer and I witnessed the whole ordeal, it… https://t.co/cWbtwmXoKe

On Wednesday, seven rockfalls occurred over a four-hour time span at the park, totaling about 16,000 cubic feet and weighing about 1,300 tons.

When rangers searched the area, they discovered a British couple had been at the base of the rock formation at the time.

The climber killed Wednesday was identified as 32-year-old Andrew Foster. His wife, who was critically injured, is still hospitalized.

#yosemitenationalpark #rockfall #ElCapitan

The size of Thursday's rockslide was not immediately clear.

A helicopter could be seen hovering over the area in a video taken just moments after the rockfall, apparently looking for damage or people.

According to the National Park Service, there are about 80 rockfalls reported in the park every year. Wednesday's death was the first one linked to a rockslide in the park in 18 years.

Gediman said no areas around El Capitan have been closed off to the public, but park officials have posted signs near the area warning visitors of the recent rockslides.

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