Wales

Yosemite park rock fall: Tributes to 'hero' climber

Andrew and Lucy Foster Image copyright Facebook/Andrew and Lucy Foster
Image caption Mr Foster, who moved to Cardiff for university, was a sales representative for an outdoor clothing firm

The family of a climber from Wales killed shielding his wife from a rock fall in California have said he will "always be our hero" for saving her.

Andrew Foster, 32, originally from Cheltenham, died when rocks fell from El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on 27 September.

His wife Lucy, 28, who was seriously injured and is recovering in hospital, was protected by her husband's body.

Mr Foster's family said they were so proud of their "brave boy".

In a statement, they said they wake up every morning hoping his death had been a "bad dream".

"As has already been reported, Andrew died whilst shielding Lucy and, indeed, we understand another climber witnessed him running back to the rock fall to protect Lucy," his family said.

"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."

Image copyright Facebook/Andrew Foster
Image caption The couple got engaged during a skiing holiday

Mrs Foster's family said he 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," they said.

The families said she was stable in hospital and the friends the couple had been climbing with had been at her hospital bedside.

They said they were now focused on getting his body back to the UK.

The El Capitan rock formation is the world's largest granite monolith and one of the best-known landmarks in Yosemite.

The pair, found with climbing equipment, are believed to have been scouting out the ascent from a trail when a "sheet" of granite plummeted from a height of 200m (656ft).

Mr Foster proposed to his wife in the Alps in 2015 and the couple married last year.

He went to Cleeve School in Bishop's Cleeve, Gloucestershire, before going to Cardiff University in 2003 to study engineering.

In 2006, he began working for the Cardiff-based outdoor activity shop Up and Under, before joining the international company Patagonia.

Mrs Foster is originally from Staffordshire and went to school in Market Drayton, Shropshire.

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