Five Members of Family Killed in Rock Slide

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A deputy from Chaffee County, Colorado said that the lone survivor of a deadly rockslide, a 13-year old girl, told him that her dad had shielded her from the rocks with his body.

The huge rockslide, estimated at several football fields in length, rolled on a group of six family members that had been hiking at the area of Agnes Vaille Falls on Monday at 11 a.m.

The survivor, Gracie Johnson, was taken to the Aurora, Colorado Children’s Hospital after being rescued by helicopter. Nick Tolsma, a deputy, said he heard a scream and looked down to see a hand sticking out from under one of the boulders.

He was able to remove some of the rocks and a boulder to pull Johnson to safety. The young teen said her dad had jumped on her to shield her body from the many rocks rolling down the mountainside. She believes he lost his life saving hers.

Johnson’s condition was kept confidential by the hospital at the request of relatives. The five killed have still not been identified officially by authorities, since responders who arrived first could not recover any of the bodies.

At a vigil Monday night at Buena Vista High, community members said a high school coach, his wife, one daughter and others from the family were missing.

Officials at the site of the rockslide said some of the boulders measured 10 feet high and over 8 feet wide, with one estimated to weigh 100 tons.

The bodies were expected to be recovered by late Tuesday afternoon, but authorities would not confirm if that had been completed.

There were no reports that anything had taken place out of the ordinary just prior to the rockslide.

The area is popular for families to hike since it is a short half mile in either direction.

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