Dangerous Case! Motorcyclist’s Death Linked to Extreme Heat in Death Valley’s Record Heatwave

Dangerous Case! Motorcyclist's Death Linked to Extreme Heat in Death Valley's Record Heatwave

Officials at California’s Death Valley National Park reported record-high temperatures on Saturday, causing the death of one motorcyclist and hospitalizing another with serious heat illness.

No information was provided regarding the age or gender of the deceased biker, and details regarding the hospitalized patient’s health were also lacking.

A request for information was not promptly addressed by the Inyo County Coroner’s Office.

Ranger Nichole L. Andler of the National Park Service confirmed Sunday via email that four additional cyclists were treated on the spot for “heat stress.”

The six were riding close to Badwater Basin, a section of the park’s salt flats that contains the lowest point in North America, according to a statement released Sunday by the park service.

Located to the south of the Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center, this region boasted a high temperature of 128 degrees late Saturday afternoon, which was 1 degree higher than the previous record set on July 6, 2007, according to the National Weather Service.


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According to the park service, science was not on the side of the riders. It added that the temperatures were far higher than the 99-degree mark, above which people do not feel much cooling from the air around them.

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It is already tough for motorcyclists to stay cool since they typically wear bulky protection gear. When the air gets too warm, the molecules that promote bigger wings or blades and tremendous thrust disperse, making takeoff difficult. This causes air ambulance helicopters that can swiftly navigate the Mojave Desert to become grounded.

“These kinds of high temperatures can be really dangerous to your health,” stated park superintendent Mike Reynolds on Sunday. “We urge visitors to exercise caution while planning their activities, even though this is an exciting time to witness potentially record-setting temperatures in Death Valley.”

According to the park’s “extreme summer heat” warning, hikers should not set out after 10 a.m. and should take every precaution against the potentially fatal heat, including wearing protective gear, seeking out cover, and drinking enough water. Cell phone service is spotty at best in Death Valley, according to the park service.

Under a high-pressure dome that is heating most of the West, Death Valley was predicted by the National Weather Service to see record heat for practically the whole week.

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