Hiker Killed by Falling Boulder at Ecological Preserve

The hiker—identified as Nicholas Lovato—was killed by a falling boulder, according to authorities.

Authorities announced Tuesday that a 23-year-old hiker died near the Ecological Preserve in Temecula.

The hiker—who was with four others—was killed Monday by a falling boulder, according to authorities who responded to the emergency call around 3:36 p.m.

The hiker was identified as Nicholas Lovato from Menifee.

Authorities said the five men hiked along the Santa Margarita River until they became fatigued and decided to rest next to a body of water. A few of the hikers began to climb a 200 foot sheer-faced rock cliff adjacent to the body of water.

Three of the hikers were seated on a large rock outcropping approximately 30 feet above the body of water when they heard the rock begin to crack. The rock gave way sending the victim to the ground below. The boulder then broke free and subsequently fell and struck Lovato, who was pronounced dead at the scene, according to authorities.

Due to the remote location and treacherous terrain, the Riverside County Sheriff's Aviation Bureau and the Coroner's Bureau utilized a Sheriff's helicopter in order to recover the victim's remains, according to authorities.

No rescue personnel were injured during the incident.

Brenda S February 02, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Michael, I understand you lost love ones in the past, we all have. If you have not experienced the loss of a child, you can not know Ricks pain he is going through. I have watched my sister and brother in law grieve for 4 years now when my nephew died in an auto accident at age 17. Losing a child is different then any other death you will ever experience. I can never ever know what Rick is going through, nor can I feel his pain, except through the eyes of my sister losing her son. Also to the so called Reverend, making judgements of where he was and what you think they were doing there is wrong. He was hiking with friends, enjoying the outdoors like we are suppose to enjoy. I have been hiking for years, it's a beautiful thing to get out in the wilderness and enjoy what God gave us to enjoy. You putting the mistakes on here is very judgmental and not what a good Reverend would ever say to someone grieving. To all of you who keep bringing up that this accident could have been avoidable.... This should not even be mentioned, it's hurtful to the family, and not even relevant at all. Keep your thoughts to yourself. God Bless this grieving family. And Rick, may your son rest in peace and find plenty of beautiful mountains to climb in God's land and without judgement. God Bless
Michael February 02, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Michie and Michelle, I know he lost his son and its sad but when he says that I'm not sorry or sad because I didn't know him, come on, that's just silly. I would like to know how many times he has been sorry and sad for someone he didn't know. But, after I posted those 3 comments above, I started thinking that maybe he was just upset and at the moment was being sensitive, which isn't bad. But, I still think that the fact he said I couldn't be sad was just silly. I would just appreciate it that he didn't accuse me of not being sad. And Brenda, I'm sorry, my mom was very sad when she lost her nephew (my cousin) from leukemia. It was like 8-9 years ago and she still cries every time she shares the story. Rick, in all honesty, after reading the other posts, I'm sorry if I offended you. I know your going through a tough time and that wasn't the right time, to say it could be avoidable. But, I also hope you realize that I can still be sad for someone even if I don't know them.
amysnyder March 08, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Take all your negative comments elsewhere and let this poor family grieve without having to defend the son they lost in a tragic ACCIDENT. My condolences to the lovato family.
Kitty Moma March 09, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Nick Lovato is still missed every day and personally I found something that he left at my house, as my son was one of his best friends. I cried all day after discovering a folder with one of his drawings in it. Nick had many many friends and he was such a fun loving, friendly, person who accepted everyone as they were. Nick never said one mean thing about anyone, ever and he was such a humble person that he would never think that he would be missed as much as he is. I feel he had a higher calling and that he is still with us in some way. To all of Nick Lovato's friends, keep strong and remember all of the great and wonderful memories that you had with Nick!!! He would want you to remember the best of times and to be strong!


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