A hiker died in California’s Sequoia National Park on Memorial Day after officials say he fell about 500 feet from a mountain ridge.
The National Park Service (NPS) says the 56-year-old man from San Jose was hiking with two other people when he fell from the summit ridge of Mount Russell, which is on the eastern boundary of the park.
One of the man’s hiking partners, a 45-year-old woman from Milpitas, fell at the same time, but she was able to stop herself about 30 feet down, according to NPS.
Officials say the third hiker was able to use a satellite device to declare an emergency and then call 911 from his cell phone.
Because the park’s rescue team was already responding to an unconscious person, NPS says a helicopter from Yosemite National Park responded to the hikers.
The team rescued the injured woman from a ledge and transported her to a hospital in Bishop and she was later transported to a Reno hospital, where she underwent surgery.
The body of the man who died in the fall was retrieved Tuesday and transferred to a funeral home.
Over the holiday weekend, NPS says the parks responded to eight separate search and rescue incidents. Officials expect it to be an extraordinarily busy summer in the parks, so they’re urging visitors to prepare carefully for trips and understand that they may need to be self-sufficient in the event of an emergency.
“There is never any guarantee that rescuers will be able to reach you quickly. Understand your own limits, take care of the people in your party, and always be prepared to turn back,” wrote NPS in a news release.