State Watch

California hiker falls 500 feet to death at Sequoia National Park

Giant sequoias in Yosemite National Park

A California man fell 500 feet to his death while hiking in Sequoia National Park on Memorial Day, USA Today reported.

Sequoia National Park issued a statement on Tuesday identifying the hiker as a 56-year-old man from San Jose, Calif. Two other hikers were with him at the time of his death.

One of the hikers, a 45-year-old woman, tried to grab the man as he lost balance and fell off the summit ridge of Mount Russell. The woman was able to break her fall 30 feet down the summit. 

The third member of the group used a satellite device emergency locator beacon to declare an emergency and also used his cellphone to call 911, according to the statement. But two rescue teams were already helping another unconscious hiker at the time of the accident.

The Yosemite technical short-haul team was able to rescue the injured woman and rushed her to a nearby hospital. She was later medevacked to a hospital in Reno, Nev., where she underwent emergency surgery.

The team was able to confirm that the male hiker died on the scene, according to a statement. He was later retrieved from Mount Russell and taken to a funeral home.

Park rescue crews responded to eight different incidents over the Memorial Day weekend and cautioned hikers to “prepare carefully.”

“Over the course of what is expected to be an extraordinarily busy summer in the parks, visitors to the front country and the wilderness alike are strongly urged to prepare carefully for trips, and understand completely that you may need to be self-sufficient in the event of an emergency,” park rangers said in a statement.

“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.”

Tags Cailfornia California hiking accident National parks in California San Jose Yosemite National Park
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