Yosemite Half Dome South Korean Climber Rescued

February 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
An avalanche in Yosemite trapped a man and seriously injured him. The avalanche happened Monday as a South Korean National and his group climbed half down. Amazingly ... The victim survived. A National Park Service photographer was filming as rescuers began their planning. Tuesday morning ... They put on their gear to help 38-year-old Jun Ho Wang ... A South Korean National. The park photographer recorded the moment rescuers approached the face of half dome to begin their operation.

At Mirror Lake, Wang and his group started their climb four days ago. But Monday, the avalanche happened as they made their final and dangerous ascent in an area known as Death Slabs.

National Park Service Ranger David Pope said, "That's where they took a 100 meter fall ... The injured subject. It appeared they were probably knocked down by the avalanche, sliding down the mountain."

David Pope is a Ranger who scaled the tough terrain to reach Wang. Just before 8:00 a.m. ... The park photographer rolled when rescuers grasp ropes and lowered themselves. They found Wang prepared with a sleeping bag ... Bundled against the freezing temperatures.

"He had multiple injuries that ... He wouldn't have been able to walk down. Either they would have to drag him down," said Pope.

By 8:30 ... The helicopter landed Wang was strapped to a stretcher with multiple broken bones including his femur. Park officials say ... Rarely do people survive an avalanche. But Wang and his group are considered very experience climbers.

Eric Gabriel with the National Park Service said, "It sound liked about a 300 foot, 100 meter slide in an avalanche ... He survived it and survived through the night with the injuries he had."

An awaiting ambulance transported Wang to Modesto for treatment. While he is recovering ... His friends decided to continue their trek up one of Yosemite's most beautiful but deadly peaks.

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