LAS VEGAS – A search for the missing Frenchman, Tom Gerbier, who went hiking in the Mount Whitney area last week, ended in tragedy as his body was discovered at the base of a cliff, according to the National Park Service.
Gerbier, an Air France pilot, embarked on a solo hiking journey via the Mountaineering Route from Whitney Portal on Tuesday, October 17. His family grew concerned when he failed to return for his scheduled flight on Wednesday and promptly reported him missing.
Described as an experienced mountaineer and ultra runner, Gerbier had both the necessary equipment and skills to complete the planned route. He possessed a valid permit for his hike, as confirmed by Inyo County Search and Rescue in a Facebook post.
Initial air searches of the region yielded no results, prompting ground search operations to commence. The National Park Service and Inyo County teams initiated an extensive ground search. During this effort, signs pointing to a potential fall off a cliff, identified as “The Notch,” were discovered. Subsequently, Gerbier’s lifeless body was located from a helicopter assisting in the search.
The National Park Service estimated that Gerbier had fallen approximately 1,000 feet. His body was transported to the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office for identification confirmation. Tom Gerbier hailed from Fontenay-sous-Bois, a town just east of Paris, France.
The search and rescue operation took place within the boundaries of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. This tragic incident marked the second fatality reported within the parks this year. The Mt. Whitney area, located approximately 245 miles west of Las Vegas, is home to the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, standing at 14,505 feet in elevation.
Credits: 8 News Now
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