The University of Colorado says two doctoral students, including one from Ashland, have been killed in a rockslide while hiking in China.

The University of Colorado says two doctoral students, including one from Ashland, have been killed in a rockslide while hiking in China.

The school says Jing Yin and Ethan Townsend, 24, of Ashland died while hiking on a trail in Jiuzhaigou National Park in the Sichuan province. It isn't clear when the pair died, but the school learned of it Friday, according to a story at denverpost.com.

Both students were doctoral candidates in physics. Yin was a native of Hefei, China, and was president of the school's Chinese Students and Scholars Association. Townsend was from Ashland and was working on a new type of microscope.

Physics professor Henry C. Kapteyn says the students were extremely bright scientists. He says they were hiking on a marked trail in the park and were simply "at the wrong place at the wrong time."

Townsend received a bachelor's degree in physics and a master's in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. He came to Boulder in 2007, according to denverpost.com.

He is the son of Ashland orthopedic surgeon Hal Townsend.