Tragedy struck in Yosemite yesterday as a massive rock tumbled down over a popular climbing route on El Capitan and claimed the life of one climber and injured another.

According to a report from Yosemite spokesperson and seasonal ranger Danielle Bonnici, which comes to us by way of the SF Chronicle, the rockfall occurred on what's known as the Waterfall Route, in the midst of peak climbing season. Rangers responded to visitors' calls for help, evacuating injured people and bringing in a helicopter to assess the damage. Reports say that a giant plume of smoke rose above the valley floor, which can be seen in one visitor's Instagram photo below.

Witnessed the Yosemite Valley El Capitan rockslide from Half Dome this afternoon. Sorry to hear at least one fatality.

A post shared by YExplore Yosemite Adventures (@yexplore) on

The National Park Service hasn't released the name of the victim just yet, but Yosemite spokesperson Scott Gediman issued a news release to the Chron about the status of the one injured person. "There is one confirmed fatality and one injured person," Gediman writes. "Park Rangers are working to transport the injured person to receive medical care." KQED mentions that Gediman believes there were at least 30 climbers on the route at the time of the fall, though he could not confirm the size of the rockfall himself.

The Associated Press, however, had a chat with Ken Yager, president of the Yosemite Climbing Association, who estimated the fall to be "big enough to fit five houses." He described the event saying, "It cratered and sent stuff mushrooming out in all directions."

KFSN-TV, the local ABC affiliate, interviewed one eyewitness who was above the rockfall. Peter Zaybrok, who is visiting from Ontario, Canada, described the falling chunk of granite as being about "the size of an apartment building." He also mentioned that he's not sure how anybody who was under that rockfall could have survived. Zabrok also went to describe several smaller rockfalls that occurred directly after the giant slab fell. He said, "It was done at tremendous peril to the rescuers because there were three subsequent rockfalls that were all nearly as big and would have killed anybody at the base."

This particular route is one of the more dangerous climbs in Yosemite, according to National Geographic. That being said, it's a well-known route, one that attracts climbers to the legendary park year after year.

Update: KSEE-24 and CBS-47 reporter Connie Tran was on-site at Yosemite with a photographer, where they just witnessed another "massive rockfall' near El Capitan. In a tweet, Tran described the sound as being "loud, thunderous," similar to the descriptions of the rockfall that occurred yesterday.

As of right now, there are no reports of injuries, but we'll be following the story and will update as it develops.

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