Bandelier visitor killed after being struck by rock, falling - Albuquerque Journal

Bandelier visitor killed after being struck by rock, falling

A visitor died Tuesday while climbing up to the Alcove House at Bandelier National Monument. (Source: Bandelier National Monument)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

A person was killed after being struck by a falling rock and tumbling down a ladder Wednesday afternoon at Bandelier National Monument near Los Alamos.

Joanie Budzileni, a park spokeswoman, said in a news release that the person was climbing up to Alcove House when the incident occurred. She didn’t say if the person killed was a man or a woman.

She said after being hit by the rock the visitor fell 30 feet down “the second of four ladders.” Budzileni said Bandelier Visitor & Resource Protection Rangers and the Los Alamos Fire Department responded to the scene.

“While being lowered to the ground with ropes and a litter, the visitor became pulseless and could not be resuscitated,” she said in the news release.

Budzileni said the visitor’s identity is not being released until family has been notified, and the Alcove House “remains closed while this incident is under investigation.”

Alcove House is located 140 feet above the floor of Frijoles Canyon, according to the monument’s website. It was once home to about 25 Ancestral Pueblo people and is now reached by four wooden ladders and several stone stairs.

Wednesday’s incident happened during one of the busiest periods for Bandelier as spring break visitors flock to the monument to see its ancient cliff dwellings. Bandelier showcases a human presence dating back more than 11,000 years. The monument has attracted up to 200,000 visitors a year.

This isn’t the first time a visitor to Bandelier has been killed. In 2016, 81-year-old Beverly Modlin, of Chicago, was visiting the monument with her family when a 70-foot tree fell in a visitors parking area. Modlin, who was getting into a rental car after a hike when the tree came down, sustained head, spine and other injuries.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed by Modlin’s family was settled in 2021 for $1 million.

Journal city editor Martin Salazar contributed to this report.

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