California Man Dies in Extreme 121-Degree Death Valley Heat

A 71-year-old man from California is dead after collapsing amid triple-digit heat in Death Valley, one of the hottest places in the world.

The man, only identified as being from Los Angeles, was found unresponsive outside a restroom near the popular Golden Canyon trail area on Tuesday afternoon when temperatures hit as high as 121 degrees Fahrenheit in the area.

He was found wearing a sun hat and hiking clothes while wearing a backpack, according to officials from Death Valley National Park, who said, “Heat may have been a factor in his death.” His car was later discovered in the adjacent parking lot.

Officials said visitors found the man around 3:40 p.m. While authorities were able to respond in less than ten minutes, local helicopters could not respond due to the high temperature.

A heat advisory sign along US highway 190 during a heat wave in California’s Death Valley National Park on July 16, 2023.

RONDA CHURCHILL via Getty Images

The Inyo County coroner had yet to determine an official cause of death as of Thursday, according to The Guardian.

Authorities said this could be the second heat-related fatality in Death Valley this summer. Earlier this month, a San Diego man was discovered dead in his vehicle during days when the temperature hit a high of 126 degrees. When found, the car had two flat tires and the air conditioning appeared broken.

Park officials urged people to keep their Death Valley visits safe by sightseeing short distances from their air-conditioned cars, hiking in the park’s cooler mountains and opting against low-elevation hikes after 10:00 a.m.

Over 85 million people across 15 states were under heat advisories on Wednesday.

Yesterday, health officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, confirmed six heat-related deaths in the area. On Tuesday, the county’s largest city, Phoenix, endured its 19th consecutive day of temperatures above 110 degrees.

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