Victim of Half Dome Fatality Identified
At about 3:40 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, 2009, Yosemite Emergency Communications Center received 911 calls regarding an individual who had fallen from the cables on Half Dome. Manoj Kumar, a 40 year old male from San Ramon, California, had gone to the top of Half Dome and was descending. Day time weather conditions mirrored those of the last several weeks with clouds developing midday with afternoon showers.
At the time of the 911 calls individuals on the summit reported being caught in a hail storm and unable to descend. The park helicopter transported two Park Rangers to the scene of the fatality. Upon arrival Park Rangers accessed the victim and determined he was deceased from severe system trauma.
An additional team of five Park Rangers were flown to Half Dome to begin the controlled evacuation of 41 visitors from the summit and cables. Many of the individuals had been unable to descend due to the incident, as well as exposure to the cold and wet elements which they had experienced for nearly two hours. The evacuation was completed by 8:15 Saturday evening; however, it was nearly 1:45 this morning before all visitors had returned to the trailhead.
There is an ongoing investigation which is focusing on the actions of the individual that led to the slip and fall, any contributing factors, as well as wet rock due to rainfall.
Did You Know?
In Wawona and downstream, the South Fork Merced River provides habitat for a rare plant, the Sierra sweet bay (Myrica hartwegii). This special status shrub is found in only five Sierra Nevada counties. In Yosemite, it occurs exclusively on sand bars and river banks along the South Fork Merced River downstream from Wawona and on Big Creek.