Ex-NFL player, second rock climber found dead in California

Gavin Escobar #89 walks to the locker room after the afternoon session of the Dallas Cowboys Rookie Minicamp at the Dallas Cowboys Valley Ranch Headquarters on May 10, 2013, in Irving, Texas. (Rick Yeatts/Getty Images)

(KTLA) – A woman and a former NFL player were found dead near a California 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 climbed into the steep, remote area and found both the climbers dead, the department said.

Multiple reports and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department have identified one climber as Long Beach, California, firefighter and former NFL player Gavin Escobar.

ESPN identified the other victim as 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh.

The Sheriff’s Department confirmed that 31-year-old Escobar, of Huntington Beach, California, was declared dead at 1:18 p.m., about an hour after he 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.

Escobar, a tight end out of San Diego State, played five years with the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he scored eight touchdowns.

A small amount of rain fell in the area earlier in the day, but officials didn’t immediately say whether the 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 Los Angeles Times.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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