San Jose man falls 500 feet to his death while hiking Sequoia National Park

Sequoia national Forest. Tree tops taken from top of Moro Rock. (Photo by Anne Loustaunou/Corbis via Getty Images)

A 56-year-old San Jose man died after falling about 500 feet while hiking in Sequoia National Park on Memorial Day, according to the National Park Service.

The man, whose name was not immediately available, was with two other people when the fall occurred Monday at the summit ridge of Mount Russell on the eastern edge of the national park.

One of his hiking partners, a 45-year-old Milpitas woman, grabbed him as he lost his balance and also fell, but was able to stop herself about 30 feet down. The third hiker in the group then used a satellite device emergency locator beacon and called 911, according to the park service.

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When the call came in, the rescue helicopter associated with Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks was already responding to rescue an unconscious hiker elsewhere, so a helicopter crew from Yosemite National Park responded and rescued the injured woman from the ledge. She was eventually taken to a hospital in Reno, Nevada, to undergo surgery there, park officials said.

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The helicopter crew was also able to confirm that the 56-year-old man died in a fall, and a parks team was able to retrieve his body Tuesday and have him transferred to a funeral home.