An Air France pilot who failed to show up for his flight shift back from the United States (US) was found dead in Sequoia National Park by search and rescue teams.
Tom Gerbier, a French national from Fontenay-sous-Bois in France, was reportedly a keen hiker and visited the national park to ascend Mount Whitney, the tallest mountain in the contiguous US.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks said in a statement that the deceased arrived in Whitney Portal on October 17, 2023, via the Mountaineering Route and was due to fly on October 18, 2023.
When the Air France pilot failed to arrive for work on that day a search was launched, led by Inyo County Sheriff’s Office.
Despite a search and rescue helicopter being dispatched there was no sign of the deceased on October 13, 2023, and it was not until October 14, 2023, that ground teams found signs of a fall on the Mountaineering Route near the summit.
In the area of the mountain known as ‘The Notch’ a helicopter was ordered to search, and it came across a motionless hiker who appeared to have fallen around 1000 foot.
The body of Tom Gerbier was taken to Tulare County Sheriff’s Office where his identity was confirmed.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks noted that this was the second time there had been a fatality this year in the area.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Air France confirmed that the pilot was on a stopover in Los Angeles.
“The company offers its most sincere condolences to his family and loved ones,” Air France said.