On Sunday, a family outing on Mt. Whitney turned fatal for one Southern California man. Despite the heroic efforts of rescuers and family members, 52 year old Neil Halliday of Orange, California, died after he collapsed on the trail.
According to Inyo Sheriff Corporal Terry Waterbury, Halliday set out to hike to the summit of Mt. Whitney on Sunday at about 8:00 in the morning. Halliday was accompanied on the hike by his 19 year old son, 22 year old daughter, and his brother.
Waterbury reports that this was a favorite family trip that they had taken before. The plan was to camp on Sunday and go to the summit on Monday. While hiking near Lone Pine Lake, Waterbury reports that family members heard a sound, turned, and saw Halliday on the ground.
The 22 year old daughter began CPR, while Hallidays son ran down the trail to find cell coverage to call 911. Two nearby Forest Service Rangers, Dave Kirk and Doug Cox, reached the victim about 15 minutes after he collapsed and joined the CPR effort.
The Inyo Sheriffs Department received the call at about 10:00 in the morning and quickly called the Cal Fire crew in Independence to hike an AED, defibrillator up to the victim. Inyo Search and Rescue was also dispatched to bring in a wheeled litter to carry the victim out.
Meanwhile the two rangers and the victims daughter continued CPR. Waterbury reports that the CPR continued for two and a half hours before a local doctor relayed the message to the rescuers to stop the CPR.
The Cal Fire crew and Inyo Search and Rescue volunteers then carried the deceased victim to the trailhead by wheeled litter.