Officials: Warning posted in area of deadly bluff collapse

AP News
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Posted: Mar 23, 2015 4:42 PM
Officials: Warning posted in area of deadly bluff collapse

PT. REYES NATIONAL SEASHORE, Calif. (AP) — A warning sign clearly marked the area of a popular Northern California hiking trail where a bluff collapsed over the weekend, killing a woman and injuring her hiking partner, authorities said Monday.

Nancy Blum, 58, of San Francisco died Saturday night after she and a man fell about 70 feet when a bluff gave way at the Point Reyes National Seashore, about an hour north of San Francisco.

The two were found atop the pile of boulders and rocks that broke apart when the cliff collapsed. The surviving hiker's name and age were not released.

He suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to a hospital.

National Park Service spokesman John Dell'Osso said park officials posted a large sign just past the start of the Bear Valley Trail to warn visitors to stay off the trail that leads to the unstable bluff.

Blum and her hiking companion ventured onto it anyway, authorities said. They were standing on the Arch Rock lookout point at the seashore just before 6 p.m. Saturday when the bluff gave way.

Arch Rock is an arched-shaped rock formation carved by ocean waves from the overlook's base. It is accessible only by skilled hikers at low tide.

The park service also issued a trail advisory on its website starting Thursday that warned hikers that fissures along the top of Arch Rock might have weakened it.

"Bluffs along the California coast are inherently unstable. They are prone to crumbling and sliding," the website reads. "It is very dangerous to climb or walk along the edge of cliffs."