A 23-year-old man trying to scale a rock face during a hike near Temecula was killed when a boulder came loose and landed on him, authorities said today.
Nicholas Lovato of Riverside died Monday afternoon in an apparent climbing accident in the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
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Lovato was hiking with four friends along the Santa Margarita riverbed and reached an area near Camino Potro and Camino Estribo where there was a 200- foot sheer rock outcropping, sheriff’s officials said.
While three hikers took a respite near the riverbank, Lovato and an associate decided to try climbing the rock face.
While Lovato was scaling the cliff, a rock cracked and fell away, “sending him to the ground below,” sheriff’s Sgt. Jon Wade said.
“The boulder broke free and fell and struck the victim,” Wade said.
Lovato died at the scene.
Several members of the hiking party ran for help, and a sheriff’s helicopter crew later flew rescuers to the location, where they successfully recovered Lovato’s remains.
No other injuries were reported.