SEQUOIA AND KINGS CANYON NATIONAL PARKS -- A French pilot is dead after falling off a cliff on Mount Whitney in Sequoia National Park.
Rangers say Tom Gerbier, a French National of Fontenay-sous-Bois, France, and pilot for Air France, was reported missing after not showing up for his return flight on Wednesday.
Gerbier had reportedly gone for a hike starting at the Whitney Portal via the Mountaineering Route early Tuesday morning.
The Inyo County Sheriff's Office took the lead on the search and rescue operation with flyovers of Mount Whitney on Wednesday.
Ground teams from the Inyo County Sheriff's Office and the National Park Service began searching on foot early Thursday morning.
As they began the summit on the Mountaineering Route they found clues that a hiker may have fallen off a cliff in the area known as "The Notch."
A helicopter assisting the search effort was redirected to the area and located a motionless hiker matching Gieber's description.
By Thursday evening, Mr. Gerbier's body was recovered via helicopter and transferred to Tulare County Sheriff's Office, which confirmed his identity.
It's estimated that Gerbier fell about 1,000 feet. This marks the second death in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks this year.