1. ITV Report

Cheltenham climber died saving wife from rockfall

Andrew Foster was killed saving his wife from a massive rockfall. Credit: Family

An inquest has heard that a climber from Cheltenham died shielding his wife from falling rocks at Yosemite National Park in America.

Andrew Foster, 32, was killed when 250 cubic metres of rock fell from the face of the El Capitan monolith on September 27 2017.

Gloucestershire Coroner's Court heard Mr Foster was seen running back to the rockfall to protect his 28-year-old wife, Lucy and dived on top of her - saving her life.

The pair, who lived in Cardiff, were on a week-long climbing trip to the national park with another British couple.

El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.

Mr and Mrs Foster had just had lunch and were returning to their campsite when the rock plummeted - including boulders described as "the size of vehicles" from a height of 200 metres on top of them. Lucy tripped up and Andrew lay his body on top of her, shielding her body from the rocks.

Lucy was partially trapped by rocks on her legs but was able to free herself and began shouting for help.

The inquest heard that the Fosters were caught in the first rockfall shortly before 2pm, with another six happening later.

Other climbers who witnessed the accident alerted the emergency services and Andrew Foster was pronounced dead at 4pm.

A post-mortem examination in the US concluded he died from cranio-cerebral injuries.

After the accident, Lucy Foster was airlifted to the trauma unit of a local hospital, where her condition was stabilised.

Lucy Foster was airlifted to hospital for treatment. Credit: Dakota Snider

Assistant coroner Caroline Saunders recorded a conclusion that Mr Foster died as a result of an accident, saying she had heard no evidence that he was not suitably prepared for the climb or that the authorities had any warnings to avoid the area.

Andrew was aware that his wife Lucy was in danger and took the loving and selfless act of protecting her from the fall using his own body to shield her from the rocks.

In the event Andrew suffered fatal injuries and despite the emergency and rescue services being called it is clear the injuries were immediately unsurvivable.

– Assistant coroner Caroline Saunders