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Rockslide in National Park Kills 1

June 14, 1999

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) _ A rockslide killed one person and injured numerous others Sunday night near a village housed by Yosemite National Park employees, a park spokesman said.

The slide occurred about 7:35 p.m. when rocks broke loose from the western shoulder of the Glacier Point apron, spokesman Bob Roney said.

The exact number of people hurt was not known but Roney said they had suffered multiple injuries. The identity of the person killed was not immediately known.

The fatality and injuries occurred in a mostly undeveloped site at an employee housing area. Those hurt may have been walking or hiking at the time, Yosemite spokeswoman Christine Cowles said.

Some 300 cabins _ about 1,300 guests and employees _ were temporarily evacuated from Curry Village, one of Yosemite’s two major villages.

Rescue efforts were to continue through the night, although the extent of the slide would not be known until it becomes light Monday, authorities said.

``Right now we have every spare park ranger or other employee involved in search and rescue operation,″ Roney said.

Jerry Bickford, who runs the front desk at the Curry Village Lodge, said he ran outside when he heard the slide about 300 yards away. He said all he could see was a giant cloud of dust.

``The first thing that goes through your mind is that it’s thunder, but then the sky is blue so you know it’s not that,″ he said. ``The dust is still out there and now it’s dark. Everything’s covered in a film of white granite dust.″

Residents of the 628-unit lodge _ rooms and cabins _ were evacuated and allowed to return two hours later.

The village, which recently celebrated its 100th anniversary, is a popular spot for campers and has an outdoor ice skating rink.

Last November, about 500 park employees and visitors were evacuated from the same village when rocks fell more than 3,000 feet from Glacier Point to the Yosemite Valley floor. There were no injuries or major damage.

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