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Man, 56, dies after plummeting 500 feet off summit in Sequoia National Park after losing balance

Man, 56, loses his balance on a mountaintop in Sequoia National Park and plummets more than 500 feet to his death – and woman who tried to grab him miraculously survives

  • In a release, the NPS said the 56-year-old fell from the summit ridge of Mount Russell and plummeted around 500 feet to his death on Monday while hiking 
  • It’s unclear what led the man to lose his balance and slip from the ridge
  • The San Jose native was part of a three-person hiking group
  • A 45-year-old woman from Milpitas tried to grab him after he lost his balance
  • She also fell from the ridge but managed to stop her fall after 30 feet 
  • The third member of the hiking group then used a satellite device emergency locator beacon to declare an emergency before calling 911
  • None of the people involved in the incident have been identified at this time
  • Mount Russell is located on the eastern boundary of Sequoia National Park, which itself is located near Visalia, California

A 56-year-old man plunged to his death in Sequoia National Park in California on Memorial Day when he lost his balance on a summit of Mount Russell, falling 500 feet. 

A 45-year-old woman who was part of his hiking group reached out to try to grab him and was dragged down herself, but miraculously survived after somehow falling only 30 feet – where rescuers saved her. 

The National Park Service announced the death of the hiker on Tuesday. It hasn’t released his name or the name of the woman. DailyMail.com has contacted the park service for more information.

It’s unclear what led the man to lose his balance and slip from the mountain’s ridge.  

In a release, the National Park Service said a 56-year-old fell from the summit ridge of Mount Russell and plummeted around 500 feet to his death on Monday (stock picture)

Mount Russell is located on the eastern boundary of Sequoia National Park in California

Mount Russell is located on the eastern boundary of Sequoia National Park in California

Mount Russell is located on the eastern boundary of Sequoia National Park, which itself is located near Visalia, California.

The mountain tops out at 14,094 feet, the seventh-highest peak in all of California. It is a mile north of Mount Whitney, which is significantly more well-known and is the highest mountain in the contiguous United States. 

The San Jose native was part of a three-person hiking group, with a 45-year-old woman from Milpitas trying to rescue and grab the man after he lost his balance.

She also fell from Mount Russell’s ridge but managed to stop her fall somehow after just 30 feet.

The third member of the hiking group then used a satellite device emergency locator beacon to declare an emergency before calling 911.

Helicopter 551 from Yosemite National Park responded to the distress call because a closer rescue team was dealing with an unrelated incident with a hiker who was unconscious.

When the rescue team arrived, they were able to extract the female victim from the ledge she was on.

She was taken to a hospital before being airlifted to a hospital in Reno, Nevada for surgery.

The San Jose native was part of a three-person hiking group, with a 45-year-old woman from Milpitas trying to rescue and grab the man after he lost his balance. She also fell from Mount Russell's ridge but managed to stop her fall somehow after just 30 feet (stock picture)

The San Jose native was part of a three-person hiking group, with a 45-year-old woman from Milpitas trying to rescue and grab the man after he lost his balance. She also fell from Mount Russell’s ridge but managed to stop her fall somehow after just 30 feet (stock picture)

The Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks wasn’t able to retrieve the deceased man until Tuesday, though. He was transferred to a funeral home after his body was recovered.

NPS reports that there were eight different search-and-rescue missions over the course of the three-day Memorial Day weekend.

‘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,’ the NPS said in their release.

They also suggested that people should always be prepared to turn around if necessary.

‘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,’ the release concluded.

There were 66 deaths recorded between 2007 and 2018 at Sequoia National Park. There were 19,869,972 visits to the park over that time, adding up to 33.22 deaths for every 10 million visits

There were 66 deaths recorded between 2007 and 2018 at Sequoia National Park. There were 19,869,972 visits to the park over that time, adding up to 33.22 deaths for every 10 million visits

In October, the law firm Panish Shea & Boyle LLP released an analysis looking at the most deadly at national parks in the United States.

Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks ranked 11th on their list, with 66 deaths recorded between 2007 and 2018.

There were 19,869,972 visits to the park over that time, adding up to 33.22 deaths for every 10 million visits. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk