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Fatal Heat Exposure Accident in
Lake Mead NRA

National Park Service - On the afternoon of June 18th 2003, hikers in Gold Strike Canyon came upon a naked, hysterical, incoherent man swinging on a tree and noted that his clothing and shoes were lying just below him on the trail. They continued down the trail, where they came across a second unresponsive naked man lying face down on the ground. The hikers turned around and attempted to make contact with the first man, but he would not respond to them. They left him a bottle of water and started to hike out to get help. They came across two hikers and asked them to go get help so that they could return to assist the man who was still alive. When they returned in about 30 to 45 minutes, the man had passed away.

The park received a call for help at 3 p.m. Rescuers arrived on scene 45 minutes later. Both men were pronounced dead at the scene, with each displaying obvious signs of heat exposure. Initial investigation revealed that they were not prepared for the desert conditions. Gold Strike Canyon is a steep, rugged desert canyon with temperatures in excess of 110 degrees. Metro Search and Rescue and the Hoover Dam Police assisted the NPS with this incident. Their deaths are the 17th and 18th fatalities to occur in the park of the year.

[Submitted by Mary Hinson, District Ranger, Boulder District]  



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