Hiker dies after falling 500 feet in Sequoia National Park

California
This April 22, 2021 file photo, provided by the National Park Service, shows a view of Sequoia National Park. (Tony Caprio/National Park Service via AP, File)

This April 22, 2021 file photo, provided by the National Park Service, shows a view of Sequoia National Park. (Tony Caprio/National Park Service via AP, File)

A San Jose man died after he fell about 500 feet (150 meters) while hiking a peak in Sequoia National Park, park officials said.

The 56-year-old man was hiking with two other people on Memorial Day when he fell from the summit ridge of Mount Russell, the National Park Service said in a statement Tuesday.

A 45-year-old woman grabbed him as he lost his balance, and also fell, landing on a ledge 30 feet (9 meters) below. Another man used a satellite device emergency locator beacon to declare an emergency and then called 911 from his cell phone, officials said.

When the call was received, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park helicopter was working to rescue an unconscious hiker from the Big Five Lakes area and the Yosemite National Park helicopter was sent to the Mount Russell emergency, they said.

The Yosemite team rescued the injured woman and transported her to a hospital in Bishop. She was later taken by air to a Reno hospital for surgery.

The rescue team confirmed that the 56-year-old man died in the fall but his body wasn’t retrieved until Tuesday by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks rescue teams.

Officials said the parks’ rescue workers responded to eight separate search and rescue calls over the three-day holiday weekend and urged visitors to prepare for trips to the wilderness.

“There is never any guarantee that rescuers will be able to reach you quickly. Understand your limits, take care of the people in your party, and always be prepared to turn back,” they said.

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