A woman and a former NFL player were found dead near a Riverside County peak after rescue crews responded to reports of injuries, authorities said.
Rescuers were called around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday to Tahquitz Rock near Idyllwild following a distress call, the Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department said on Twitter.
A team managed to climb into the steep, remote area and found both the climbers dead at the scene, the department said.
Multiple reports and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department have identified one climber as Long Beach firefighter and former NFL player Gavin Escobar.
ESPN identified the other victim as 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh.
The Sheriff’s Department confirmed that Escobar was declared dead at 1:18 p.m., about an hour after the 31-year-old Huntington Beach resident and Walsh were believed to be injured.
The Long Beach Fire Department confirmed Escobar’s death Thursday afternoon, adding that he began working with the department in February.
In a statement, the department said Escobar was “well-mannered, soft spoken, and very polite.”
“Firefighter Gavin Escobar has left a lasting impression on those that had the fortunate opportunity to work with him during his time with the Long Beach Fire Department. He will be remembered and honored in a way that is in alignment with the core values that he dedicated himself to throughout his life,” the statement said.
Escobar, a tight end out of San Diego State, played five years with the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he scored eight touchdowns.
He leaves behind a wife, Sarah, and two children.
A small amount of rain fell in the area earlier in the day, but officials didn’t immediately say if weather was a factor in the deaths.
Tahquitz Rock, with its steep granite cliffs, is a popular destination for climbers.
Two climbers from Los Angeles fell 200 feet (60 meters) to their deaths on the rock in 2000, according to the L.A. Times.