SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Several boulders as large as a delivery van fell hundreds of feet, destroying a chalet-style house and killing a middle-aged couple in a small Utah town outside Zion National Park, the mayor said.
Rockville Mayor Dan McGuire described a gruesome scene with rescuers finally reaching the bodies of the victims early Friday. He said other nearby houses remain in danger in the town about 250 miles south of Salt Lake City.
The Utah Highway Patrol took geologists to the top of the cliff by helicopter to examine the dangers.
McGuire said the $380,000 house was "totally flattened" Thursday evening. "It was just like an explosion" that left a huge cloud of dust.
The sandstone blocks fell 200 to 300 feet from the top of the cliff, helped by recent freeze-thaw cycles that are continuing, he said.
"They're big slabs of stone with creases and cuts, and they're not all fastened up there," McGuire said. "They have a tendency to push out at this time of the year."
Other nearby residents were staying away from houses built close to the base of the cliff. One renter recently left the neighborhood because of the danger, the mayor said.