Hiker killed after cliff collapses along northern California trail


March 22, 2015: This photo provided by Point Reyes National Seashore shows a rockslide at Arch Rock within Point Reyes National Seashore on the Northern California coast north of San Francisco. (AP Photo/Point Reyes National Seashore)

One hiker was killed and another was injured after a sandstone bluff along a popular northern California hiking trail gave way late Saturday.

The collapse happened shortly before 6 p.m. local time at the Arch Rock lookout point at Point Reyes National Seashore, northwest of San Francisco. National Park Service spokesman John Dell’Osso told the San Francisco ChronicleSunday that the hikers had embarked on an 8.2-mile hike along the Bear Valley Trail to the overlook.

The pair fell about 70 feet and were covered with rocks and debris before being freed by passers-by. One of the hikers was pronounced dead at the scene, while the other was airlifted to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

No identifying information was released about either hiker.

The National Park Service had posted signs at the site two days earlier warning hikers that a fissure along the top of Arch Rock may have weakened the cliff and that walking along the edge was dangerous.

However, witnesses said that didn’t stop many from climbing up to the overlook. Hiker Karen Blasing told the Chronicle she saw dozens of people on the bluff despite the risk.

“It was clear no one should be on that rock with the huge fissure,” she told the paper. “We stayed back, but many others were unconcerned and dangerously taking chances.”

Officials later closed that area of the trail completely.

“We just put up warning signs this past Thursday and Friday,” Dell’Osso told theLos Angeles Times in an interview. “I can’t tell you why somebody would walk past those signs and not pay any attention to them.

“Obviously there is a tragedy and one person didn’t survive, but one person did and hopefully this won’t happen again,” he told the Chronicle.