National

Rockfall kills 14-year-old girl inside vehicle at Montana national park, officials say

Screengrab from CBS This Morning video

Rocks up to 12 inches in diameter rained down on a vehicle Monday night at Glacier National Park, killing a 14-year-old girl inside and injuring four others, National Parks Traveler reports.

The rocks, ranging from fist-sized to a foot in diameter, shattered the back window of a vehicle on Going-to-the-Sun Road at 7 p.m. in the Montana national park, according to the publication. The family inside was visiting the park from Utah.

Enough rocks fell to fill a pickup truck bed, shattering the vehicle’s rear window and killing the girl, park officials said. Two adults and two other children in the vehicle were injured, National Parks Traveler reported.

“I could clearly hear a woman crying frantically, screaming, you know, ‘Please help her. Someone please just help her,’” said park visitor Pat Cummings, CBS News reported.

The rockfall took place near the East Tunnel, CNN reported. The 14-year-old died while being taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital after medics abandoned a helicopter airlift due to the seriousness of her injuries.

“Whether it’s rain, whether it’s wind, you know, all of these things can cause rocks to fall,” said Lauren Alley, a spokesperson for the park, CBS News reported. “But rockfall in this magnitude is very unusual.”

The 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road follows a scenic route through the mountains of Glacier National Park, near the Canadian border in Montana, according to the park website.

About 2 million visitors drive the road each year, CBS News reported.

Falling rocks last killed a person on the road in 1996 after striking a vehicle, CNN reported.

Law enforcement and other experts suggest these tips on how to stay safe when you're running or hiking a trail.

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Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.
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