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Rock slide at Yosemite strikes cabins

A second rock slide in two days struck cabins and knocked down trees Wednesday in Yosemite National Park, witnesses said.
/ Source: The Associated Press

A second rock slide in two days struck cabins and knocked down trees Wednesday in Yosemite National Park, witnesses said. Officials did not immediately confirm any injuries but a man reported helping a boy with a bloody forehead.

The slide happened shortly after 7 a.m., Yosemite National Park spokesman Erik Skindrud told KCRA-TV in Sacramento. Officials went to the area to evaluate any potential damage, he said.

Witnesses told The Associated Press the slide toppled trees and hit some tents and wooden cabins near Curry Village amphitheater. The witnesses also said some people appeared to be injured.

There was another, smaller rock slide in the same area Tuesday afternoon. No one was injured. Curry Village includes visitor lodging, stores and restaurants with the dramatic, sheer face of a granite cliff as a backdrop.

In 1996, a rock slide in the same area sent as much as 162,000 tons of rock plummeting more than 2,000 feet, killing one visitor and felling 500 trees.

Tom Trujillo, of New Milford, Conn., who was attending photography classes at Yosemite Institute, saw the rock slide and ran toward it.

A thunderclap and a giant cloud of rock
“Trees were crushed all over the place,” said Trujillo over the sound of a hovering helicopter. “A couple of kids, fifth or sixth-graders, were stumbling out of the area. I tried to pick them up, tried to get them out as fast as I could.”

Trujillo said he helped one boy, with blood on his forehead and down his back, get out and find his mother.

“It was a really big mess,” Trujillo said. “Tents were crushed, trees were knocked down, hard cabins were moved out of their positions, with bounders blocking their doorway.”

Another photography student, Rena McClain, a nurse from Dover, Del., told the AP she had her back to the granite face when she heard what sounded like a thunderclap. She whipped around and saw a giant cloud of rock and dust coming down.

“People were starting to yell ’Run, Run!’ and kids started to scream,” said McClain.

As the dust settled, shaken teachers and chaperones gathered groups of high school students and tried to get head counts.

“The kids were crying,” said McClain. “I tried to comfort them. I’m a nurse; my immediate response was ’What can I try to do to help.”’