A rock slide in Chaffee County, Colorado killed five hikers and injured a sixth, as a football-field sized portion of a mountainside on the southern slope of Mt. Princeton gave way Monday morning. The rock slide buried the five Colorado hikers with 100-ton boulders described as being as big as cars, according to The Denver Post on Oct. 1.
The rock slide demolished a popular beginners trail below one of Colorado's most photographed mountains, wreaking so much havoc that that rescuers had to wait a day to attempt to recover the victims' bodies.
The slide occurred in Chaffee County's Agnes Vaille Falls, located about 120 miles southwest of Denver. 13-year-old Gracie Johnson suffered a fractured leg and was airlifted to Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora.
It's being reported she was hiking with her mother and father, Dawna and Dwayne Johnson, as well as a track coach at Buena Vista High School.
The exact identities of the other three victims has not yet been released. The area was so unstable, recovery efforts were called off Monday. The county coroner toured the area and said no one was alive up there.
Rocks were still tumbling down the mountainside as rescuers raced up to the falls Monday afternoon. The slope itself started moving downhill. Rescuers had abandon their efforts because it was so unstable.
Chaffee County Sheriff Pete Palmer said, "They were rolled over by boulders as big as these cars". Undersheriff John Spezze called the terrain steep and rocky, saying its very dangerous right now because it its instability.
Palmer and Spezze said it appeared rocks from a cliff shelf above the falls released, triggering the massive rock slide. The area recently had heavy rains, which engineers believe may have played a role in loosening the large boulders.
The U.S. Forest Service maintains the trail, according to ABC News. Officials are asking the Forest Service for a permanent closure to the trail, located across from the Chalk Lake campground, roughly 8 miles west of Nathrop.
"I've never seen something like this", said Spezze.