Los Angeles man, 71, dies at Death Valley National Park trailhead amid extreme heat

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Wednesday, July 19, 2023
LA man, 71, dies at Death Valley trailhead amid extreme heat
A 71-year-old man from the Los Angeles area died at a trailhead in Death Valley National Park as temperatures reached 121 degrees, according to officials.

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- A 71-year-old man from the Los Angeles area died at a trailhead in Death Valley National Park Tuesday afternoon as temperatures reached 121 degrees, according to officials.

The man, who has not been identified, collapsed outside the restroom at Golden Canyon, a news release from park officials said.

"National Park Service officials believe he had likely just been hiking the popular trail," the news release said. "He was wearing a sun hat and hiking clothes, and carried a backpack. His car was in the parking lot."

Park visitors saw the man and called 911 for help around 3:40 p.m., prompting a response from the National Park Service and the Inyo County Sheriff's Office.

A Mercy Air helicopter was unable to fly to the scene due to the extreme heat, officials said. When park rangers arrived, they performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator, but were unable to save the man.

A cause of death has not been determined, but park rangers suspect heat was a factor.

Officials said temperatures at nearby Furnace Creek reached about 121 degrees around the time of the man's death, but it was likely much hotter inside Golden Canyon due to canyon walls radiating the sun's heat.

It could be the second heat-related death in Death Valley this summer after a 65-year-old man died July 3.

"Park rangers encourage people 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," the news release said.

Hiking at low elevations after 10 a.m. is not recommended.

Death Valley has experienced 28 days of temperatures in excess of 110 degrees this year, according to the National Weather Service.