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Crews respond to rock slide near Agnes Vaille Falls - TheMountainMail.com: Free Content

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Crews respond to rock slide near Agnes Vaille Falls

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Posted: Monday, September 30, 2013 12:20 pm

Five people have died in the a rock slide near Agnes Vaille Falls, a popular hiking area about 8 miles west of Nathrop.

Early this afternoon a Flight for Life helicopter transported 13-year-old Gracie Johnson, a student at McGinnis Middle School in Buena Vista, to Children's Hospital, Chaffee County Sheriff Pete Palmer confirmed Monday evening.

Palmer said he did not know Johnson's condition, however, he said he did not think her injuries were life threatening.

Palmer confirmed that at the time of the rockslide, Johnson was hiking with her family.

Palmer said he could not yet confirm the identity of the five who died in the rock slide.

Palmer said, “There's a lot a speculation going on. It's going to take a lot of work and time to identify (the bodies).”

Monday evening Buena Vista schools were holding a community vigil for Gracie Johnson and her family.

Some of the rocks involved in the slide are “half the size of a car,” Palmer said.

Three air-ambulance helicopters, a team from Climax Mine and Chaffee County Search and Rescue teams are assisting in the effort, Palmer said. The team from Climax is coming to assist in the removal of the boulders.

Responders closed the Agnes Vaille Falls trailhead and CR 162 to traffic about one-half mile east of the intersection with CR 270, Palmer said. He said the road and trail would likely be closed for the next “couple days.”

Laura Smith, spokeswoman for Chaffee County sheriff's office, said the road is open to local traffic only.

(Mail reporters James Redmond and Anthony Himes contributed to this story.)

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