Family of man killed saving wife from rockfall ‘so proud of our brave boy’
Andrew Foster was trapped when more than 1,000 tonnes of rock fell from the face of the El Capitan monolith.
The family of a British climber who died shielding his wife from falling rocks at Yosemite National Park have described him as “our hero”.
Andrew Foster, 32, was trapped when more than 1,000 tonnes of rock fell from the face of the El Capitan monolith on September 27.
He was seen running back to the rockfall to protect his wife, Lucy Foster, 28, and dived on top of her – saving her life. The pair were returning from a climb when a sheet of granite around 131ft (40m) by 66ft (20m) plummeted from a height of 656ft (200m).
Mrs Foster is now in a stable condition in a hospital in California and is awaiting clearance to return to the UK, where she lives in Cardiff.
In a statement, Mr Foster’s parents and siblings – David, Julie, Matthew and Hope Foster – paid tribute to him as “our brave boy”.
“Yosemite was a very special place for Andrew and one that he had returned to a few times over the years to climb and explore,” they said. “Andrew’s wife Lucy was with Andrew when the accident occurred and, thankfully, is now recovering in a California hospital with her family around her. We really cannot express our grief and still hope, every morning, that we will awake from a bad dream.”
The family said they had been touched by the many tributes they had received.
Mr Foster’s passion and enthusiasm for “life and the outdoors that was just infectious for anyone who was around him”, they said.
“As has already been reported, Andrew died whilst shielding Lucy and, indeed, we understand another climber witnessed him running back to the rockfall to protect Lucy,” they continued. “They loved each other dearly and, while our loss is indescribable, we are so proud of our brave boy in saving Lucy; he will always be our hero.”
The family thanked the rescue workers and medical staff who have helped Mrs Foster.
They highlighted the first response ranger and paramedic who met them at Yosemite on Wednesday, who quickly rescued Mr Foster from the rockfall.
“We are still trying to come to terms with the reality of the situation and now just want to focus on bringing Andrew home as quickly as possible,” they added. “Therefore, we request the time and space needed to focus our energies on this and Lucy’s recovery, and to grieve our loss privately.”
Mrs Foster’s family – Brian, Jenny, Martin and Jo Anne Rouse – said they were “devastated” by Mr Foster’s death.
After the accident, Mrs Foster was airlifted to the trauma unit of a local hospital, where her condition was stabilised. Friends who had been climbing with the couple were able to comfort Mrs Foster until her family arrived.
“Our family is devastated by these events: for the loss of Andy and for the plans they had made together for their future adventures,” Mrs Foster’s family said.
“He truly was the man of her dreams. We take some comfort from the fact that Andy’s last act of love saved Lucy’s life. Both families are supporting each other at this incredibly difficult time of loss and sadness.”