500-foot fall kills hiker on Memorial Day in California national park

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<p>Sequoia National Park, California </p> (AP)

Sequoia National Park, California

(AP)

A hiker has died in California after falling from a height of almost 500 feet, according to National Park officials.

A 56-year-old from San Jose lost his balance at the top of a mountain peak in the east of Sequoia National Park on Tuesday — and the seventh highest in the state of California.

He was with two other hikers, including a 45-year-old woman, who also fell from the top of Mount Russell by 30 feet and was transferred to hospital.

A search and rescue helicopter from Yosemite National Park responded to the emergency at Mount Russell because the Sequoia National Park helicopter was engaged in another nearby accident, the agency added.

It followed a third member of the hiking party calling 911 from his cell phone and initiating a location beacon to declare an emergency, according to the National Parks Service..

The accident came after eight emergency incidents during the three-day Memorial Day weekend, which typically sees a rise in hikers at national parks throughout the US.

In a warning to hikers, the National Parks Service added that “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”.

“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 body of the hiker was retrieved and taken away, while the injured woman was transferred to Northern Inyo Hospital and then to a hospital in Reno, Nevada, for surgery.

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