Man dies in Death Valley National Park in possible heat-related incident, officials say

A 71-year-old man died at a trailhead in Death Valley National Park on Tuesday afternoon in what officials say may have been a heat-related fatality.

The man, who has not yet been identified, collapsed outside a restroom at Golden Canyon as temperatures soared to around 121 degrees Fahrenheit with actual temperatures inside Golden Canyon likely much higher due to canyon walls radiating the sun’s heat, the National Park Service said in a news release.

The man was wearing a sun hat and hiking clothes and had likely been hiking the popular trail, officials said.

Other park visitors noticed the man and called 911 at around 3:40 p.m. local time, the National Park Service said.

Park rangers responded minutes later, while an air helicopter was not able to be deployed due to the high temperature. Rescuers used CPR and an automated external defibrillator but were not able to save the man.

A cause of death has yet to be determined, but rangers suspected the heat was a factor, the National Park Service said.

The National Park Service said visitors were encouraged to visit Death Valley safely in the summer by sightseeing short distances from their air-conditioned cars or hiking in the park’s cooler mountains. Hiking at low elevations is also not recommended after 10 a.m., it said.

The agency noted that this was possibly the second heat-related fatality in Death Valley this summer after a 65-year-old man died on July 3.

Death Valley has experienced at least 28 days of temperatures over 110 degrees so far this year, the agency said, citing the National Weather Service.

“Heat stroke sets in when the body’s core temperature rises above 104 degrees,” it said.

Josh Cradduck contributed.

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