Colorado Hikers: Five Killed In Deadly RockslideBy: Tobias Roth - October 1, 2013
Fiver hikers in Colorado were trapped and killed on Monday, after a massive rockslide. The victims were buried under the rocks and were unable to escape. They were buried in an unstable environment, preventing emergency help from being able to retrieve them until Tuesday. What triggered the incident is not able to be determined as of yet, but the area did have heavy rainfall over the summer, and a recent snowfall.
There were a group of people hiking up a popular mountain, and while five of them died sometime during the accident, a sixth was rescued and flown to a hospital in Denver. The survivor was a teenager girl and after being admitted to the hospital, she is being treated for a broken arm and other miscellaneous injuries. The Washington Times states that the slide sent boulders the size of cars onto a viewing area on Mount Princeton. This is an area where travelers tend to pause in order to view the scenic Agnes Vaille Falls. The U.S. Forest Service is in charge of maintaining the trail and it will likely be shut down for a while.
The surviving teenager, a 13 year old girl, said her father as a boulder fell down on them, an event that likely saved her life as her father and four others died in the process. After they bodies were discovered, rescuers were able to determine that all of the hikers were a family. Gracie Johnson, the survivor lost both of her parents, Dwayne and Dawna Johnson, and her sister in the accident. Additionally, her two cousins Baigen Walker and Paris Walkup, were the other members killed in the accident. All five bodies were recovered on Tuesday afternoon and were identified by a family member. Dwayne and Dawna were well-known in the community and Dwayne was the high school’s football coach.
Undersheriff John Spezze said that the massive slide left a gash the size of a football field in the mountainside, reports ABC News. He also said that officials have asked the Forest Service to close the trail permanently, which has historically been very popular with hikers. It is one of the first hikes recommended to new people in the area and it is popular with tourists, said Margaret Dean, a member of the community and regular hiker of the trail.
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