Terrifying: Climber Ryan Sheridan posted this image of the moment hundreds of tons of rock hurtled past him while he was 2,000ft up El Capitan in Yosemite and killed one person below

Terrifying: Climber Ryan Sheridan posted this image of the moment hundreds of tons of rock hurtled past him while he was 2,000ft up El Capitan in Yosemite and killed one person below
This is the terrifying moment a climber watched an apartment-sized block of rock break free from Yosemite's El Capitan and hurtle thousands of feet to the valley below killing one person.

Ryan Sheridan took the image on Wednesday as the huge 100ft x 100ft block of granite disintegrated into an avalanche of boulders as it fell to the ground from 2,000ft up.

One person is dead after the rock - weighing hundreds of tons - fell onto them as they walked to the foot of the 3,000ft-high face to begin climbing.

At least one other person was injured and survivors were seen miraculously clambering out of the debris field and being rescued after the tragedy.



Large rock fall happens a few times a year at Yosemite but there is no way to predict when or where it will occur. Thousands of stunned tourists witnessed the tragedy at 1.55pm but none were hurt.

As he posted the image to Facebook, professional climber Sheridan wrote: 'We are alright, hoping for a good outcome for the people approaching east buttress'

Around 30 climbers were on El Capitan at the time of the rockfall on the Waterfall Route but they appear to be unharmed.

Another witness who saw the slide from above said he saw the rockfall hit two climbers as they walked to the bottom of the face which is one of the most famous symbols of America's national parks.

Peter Zabrok said he saw the two climbers walking below the rock fall and one of them get hit and buried. When his companion tired to run to his aid he was also hit by more rocks plummeting down the face.

An onlooker across the valley captured this image of the rock fall from across the valley on Wednesday

An onlooker across the valley captured this image of the rock fall from across the valley on Wednesday
Zabrok, who spoke to DailyMail.com on Wednesday night as he made his way back to base, narrowly avoided death.

He had just climbed above the piece of the rock which tore off when he watched from a 'birds eye view' as it fell away.

He said: 'We were climbing the route where the rockfall occurred and we got a bird's-eye view of the rockfall.

'I observed a 100 foot by 100 foot by 100 foot piece of granite peel off and fall 2000 feet to the ground. It was the size of an apartment building' he said.

Zabrok - seasoned rock climber with decades of experience - said the sound of the fall was like 'a thousand freight trains derailing at once but louder'.

'There were two people walking at the base and the appeared to get hit and completely buried.

'We are past it and we are safe. Had we been underneath it we would have died for sure. I give thanks to God and my Saviour Jesus Christ,' he said.

Writing later on a climbing forum, Zabrok said: 'A guy in a green shirt ran over from the Zodiac area and probably went up into the rock fall to search for the people who were buried.

'Ryan shouted continually from the portaledge to stay away because more rock was going to come down.

'We think that the guy in the green shirt is the one who perished and was carried away by the rescue crew.

'But this is only a guess based on what we saw. It is a true blue big wall miracle that orange helmet girl survived not one rock fall but too. She must have some sort of hedge of protection around her.'

Climbers die every year in Yosemite and rock fall is just one of the dangers they face. The last climber to be killed by rock fall was Mason Robinson who was hit by a rock an fell 280ft to his death.

One woman in a white helmet was seen being lifted in to an air ambulance shortly after the incident after being rescued from the mountain.

She was flown away for treatment.

Subsequent smaller rockfall also put rescuers in danger as they searched for survivors.

Zabrok added: 'There have been three subsequent enormous rock falls and this rescuer is in tremendous peril.'

In a statement after the slide Yosemite National Park said: ' A rockfall of undetermined size occurred on El Capitan at about 1:55 pm today. The release point appears to be near the "Waterfall Route," a popular climbing route on the East Buttress of El Capitan.

'This is the area where Horsetail Fall flows in winter and spring conditions.

'There is one confirmed fatality and one injured person. Park rangers are working to transport the injured person to receive medical care outside of the park.'

The fall trigger three smaller slides, he said, which left emergency workers in danger.

'There have been three subsequent enormous rock falls and this rescuer is in tremendous peril,' he said, immediately after the first one.

One woman was seen being lifted in to an air ambulance shortly after the incident after being rescued from the mountain.

She was flown away for treatment.

Aftermath: This was survivor Peter Zabrok's view after the rockfall. The huge debris field of boulders can be seen bottom right

Aftermath: This was survivor Peter Zabrok's view after the rockfall. The huge debris field of boulders can be seen bottom right
Zabrok was making his way down the mountain with his climbing partners Ryan Sheridan and Patrick McCredmond when he spoke to DailyMail.com.

The park announced the slide in a Facebook post shortly after it was reported.

'The release point appears to be near the "Waterfall Route," a popular climbing route on the East Buttress of El Capitan,' the post read.

'This is the area where Horsetail Fall flows in winter and spring conditions. There is one confirmed fatality and one injured person.

'Park rangers are working to transport the injured person to receive medical care outside of the park,' it said.