BUENA VISTA, Colo. – Five hikers were killed by a rock slide on a trail in south-central Colorado on Monday, and another was pulled out with injuries and flown to a hospital, authorities said.
Boulders exceeding 100 tons crashed into a viewing area a half-mile up a popular day hike area, Chaffee County Undersheriff John Spezze said.
The slide left a football-field-sized gash below Mount Princeton, a 14,197-foot peak. A female hiker who heard the slide ran down the trail and called for help, Spezze said.
Rescuers found five dead bodies and a 13-year-old girl with a broken leg and other injuries. The girl was flown to a Denver hospital.
There was no immediate identification of the victims or whether they were a single group.
Chaffee County authorities dismissed an earlier report that there was a seventh hiker unaccounted for.
The slide wasnt preceded by smaller ones, Spezze said.
It was totally unexpected. It caught everybody by surprise, he said.
Sheriffs department spokeswoman Monica Broaddus said rescuers left the mountain before dark Monday.
She said the recovery effort would wait until likely this afternoon, after an engineer could survey the slide area to make sure its safe to remove the bodies.
The slide occurred about 11 a.m. on the trail to Agnes Vaille falls in the Pike and San Isabel National Forest, an easy day hike about a 2 1/2 - hour drive southwest of Denver.