UK

Yosemite's El Capitan Rock Fall: Killed Briton Andrew Foster 'Died Saving Wife'

They had been celebrating their first wedding anniversary.

30/09/2017 15:10 BST

A British climber who was crushed by falling rocks at Yosemite National Park was killed attempting to save his wife.

Andrew Foster, 32, was trapped when more than 1,000 tonnes of rock fell from the face of the El Capitan monolith on Wednesday.

Foster and his wife Lucy, who were on a three-week trip to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, are believed to have been scouting out the ascent from a trail when a “sheet” of granite around 40 by 20 metres plummeted from a height of 200 metres.

Mrs Foster spoke to her husband’s aunt and said she was only alive because Andrew jumped to save her.

Gillian Stephens told the Times: “She said: ‘Andrew saved my life. He dived on top of me as soon as he could see what was going to happen. He saved my life’.”

The couple, from Cardiff, were both keen rock climbers who kept a blog and an online picture account chronicling their adventures.

“We are a young married couple who enjoy nothing more than getting out and having adventures in the mountains together. We are not extreme athletes and describe ourselves simply as passionate weekend warriors,” they wrote.

Foster had proposed to his wife, who is originally from Shropshire, during a skiing holiday in the Alps in 2015 and they married the following year.

Mr Foster, who grew up in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, before attending Cardiff University, worked for clothing company Patagonia and was previously employed by outdoor store Up and Under.

Staff at the Cardiff-based shop said in a statement: “Andy Foster was an inspirational member of the Up and Under family.

“He was a highly regarded member of staff for five years, before he took a job with Patagonia.

“He remained a dedicated friend of Up and Under, and was regularly to be found in the store. His passion for the outdoors, and mountains in particular, was enormous and infectious.

“Andy and Lucy’s intentions upon returning from Yosemite were, with the help of Andy’s father, to covert a van into a motorhome to enable them to explore the European Alps for the next 12 months.

“It was then our hope that Andy would return to Up and Under in a part time consultative role, whilst he also chased other ambitions.

“Andy was highly respected, loved and his loss will be sorely felt by us all.

“Our thoughts are with Lucy and his family.”

Sixteen people have been killed and 100 others injured in rock falls since park records began in 1857. The last fatality was in June 1999, when climber Peter Terbush was killed below Glacier Point.