An injured hiker managed to survive two nights out in the cold on Mount Whitney, only to die hours after her rescue. It was a heartbreaking end for friends and family of Cassandra Bravo, a California nurse and single mother of a 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter. She fell roughly 100 feet down steep terrain during a solo day hike last Thursday. A search began the following day once authorities located her car at a Mount Whitney trailhead, at 8,400 feet elevation, per the San Jose Mercury News. A snowstorm had blown in by the time the 34-year-old was located at the bottom of a steep slope just off the trial on Saturday. She was conscious and "mumbling," per People. But she was also badly injured and wearing only a tank top and leggings, though she'd dragged herself under a log for some protection against the elements, per CBS News.
She succumbed to her injuries hours after arriving at a hospital. "I got to hug her and tell her I loved her and tell her goodbye," her son, Jonathan, says. "It just sucks that she saved so many lives just for hers to be taken." The Loma Linda University Medical Center, where Bravo worked as an urgent care nurse, said she was "an incredible advocate for her patients" and "has left a legacy that will always be remembered." Her friend, Luisa Moya, adds it's comforting to know that the "badass" Bravo knew her family was there and "didn't give up on her." Search and rescue officials had warned of an approaching storm a day before Bravo set out, advising hikers to prepare, per the San Jose Mercury News. "The upcoming weekend looks very cold with a wind chill of minus 20 degrees," the notice read. Some $49,000 has been raised for Bravo's kids. (Read more Mount Whitney stories.)