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Hiker killed by falling boulder near Temecula

This Google Maps image shows the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve.

January 23, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A 23-year-old man died after he was struck by a falling boulder while hiking near Temecula in Riverside County.

Authorities say Nicholas Lovato of Menifee and four other people had hiked into the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, which is off limits to the public, on Monday. He was sitting on a rock outcropping when it suddenly gave way.

Lovato fell about 30 feet into a canyon and was struck by a falling boulder. Officials say he died instantly.

His body was recovered by helicopter Tuesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.