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Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park

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Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 07, 2009 03:53PM
An 11-year-old boy died in the intense heat of Death Valley National Park after he and his mother became stranded in one of the world's most inhospitable areas and survived for several days on bottled water, Pop-Tarts and cheese sandwiches, authorities said Friday.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2009/08/07/national/a104604D58.DTL&tsp=1
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 07, 2009 04:12PM
She doesn't sound too bright:

"relying on directions from a GPS device"
Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 10, 2009 01:07PM
Quote
eeek
She doesn't sound too bright:

"relying on directions from a GPS device"

Look, it appears they did a lot of things wrong, but don't take one snippet from the article about the GPS and assign blame. I rely on GPS' all the time. But then again, I know how to use them, their limitations, and I always supplement with a map/compass when needed. Handheld GPS' are an invaluable tool for wilderness navigation, and these peoples' problems stemmed from much more than just a GPS.
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 10, 2009 01:14PM
Using a GPS is fine. Obeying one blindly is not fine.
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 07, 2009 06:07PM
What a shame. Difficult to express condolences in a situation that is avoidable. I'm sure she meant well for her kid and now she has to live with it, and the dog will know something's wrong, too.

I've broken down many times in the middle of nowhere but managed to get out of it, sometimes out of luck, sometimes because I carry so many tools in the truck... Relatives have told me "we'll find your dried up bones some day and we won't care" but I go anyway.

I doubt any charges would be (nor should be) filed against this poor woman. She'll have punishment every day the rest of her life.

Some of the comments, the ones that haven't been deleted that is, are downright cruel. What's up with people, anyway? Too much "easy for you to say" stuff on the internet while hopelessly voyeuristic-defeatist people sit on their butts whining about others.
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 07, 2009 06:33PM
I purposely avoid the "comments" at the end of particularly tragic stories; they usually upset me with their matter-of-fact callousness. I have read so many "died within 1/2 mile of the trail" stories that take place in the desert/Grand Canyon areas, that it's the one area that I gladly carry extra extra water when I go banging around.(and, yeah, Vince, my family says similar things, too)(except the "we won't care" -- they would not miss an opportunity to wail and grieve for ten years!!!)

B
Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 09, 2009 11:39AM
Does anyone else remember that up until a couple of decades ago Death Valley was closed during the summer months? Am I imagining that?
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 09, 2009 12:41PM
Quote
mtn man
Am I imagining that?

Possibly. I'm not the definitive source on the question, but I can't recall ever hearing of it being closed, routinely or ortherwise, due to the summer heat (dating back to the late '60s). I do seem to recall it being effectively closed a couple times due to storms, flash floods, and road washouts. The Furnace Creek Inn, I believe, does shut down during the summer months.
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 09, 2009 05:25PM
Quote
szalkowski
The Furnace Creek Inn, I believe, does shut down during the summer months.

I think they require a certain level of occupancy to justify keeping the place open. They're just not going to get that in the summer months.

The Furnace Creek Ranch (with motel style rooms) is open during summer. Each room has A/C, which is absolutely critical.
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 09, 2009 05:53PM
The web site says: "The Furnace Creek Inn is available to guests from Mid-October through mid-May. From mid May through mid October all operations are consolidated at the Furnace Creek Ranch."

http://www.furnacecreekresort.com/
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 09, 2009 02:24PM
UFC Fighter Evan Tanner dies in desert... http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,420262,00.html
avatar Re: Boy dies in Death Valley National Park
August 10, 2009 06:51PM
Death Valley National Park (CA)
Boy Dies Of Exposure, Mother Survives

Rangers received several phone calls from concerned family members on the evening of August 5th regarding the failure of a woman and her son to return from a camping trip in the park. Alicia Sanchez, 28, a traveling nurse, was scheduled to report back to her current assignment at a Las Vegas hospital that evening, but hadn’t yet appeared. The family reported that she’d planned to come to the park with her 11-year-old son to camp and visit Scotty’s Castle, and that she’d sent a text message on August 1st saying that she was in the desert and changing a flat tire. Ranger Matt Martin checked the high elevation campgrounds in the Panamint Mountains (Wildrose, Mahogany Flats, and Thorndike) and district ranger Aaron Shandor checked the Furnace Creek campground and the surrounding developed area – neither with any success. Rangers then began planning for a full-scale search beginning at first light on Thursday August 6th, including the use of a VX-31 SAR helicopter from China Lake Naval Air Station. The VX-31, with rangers providing ground support, began searching the south end of the park at 6 a.m., as did other rangers and members of the Civil Air Patrol. At 10 a.m., ranger Amber Nattrass came upon a wheel rim with a flat tire and a water bottle on a dirt road leading into the Owlshead Mountains at the southwest corner of the park. Only one set of tire tracks were seen. Nattrass followed this set of tire tracks and discovered that the vehicle had left the established roadway and been driven into designated wilderness. Nattrass continued to follow the tracks and found Sanchez’s vehicle just after 11 a.m. She found the woman conscious but suffering from exposure and severe dehydration; her son had not survived. Nattrass, a park medic, began treating Sanchez after requesting a medevac. VX-31 with paramedics on board responded, and they began assisting Nattrass with medical care. A medevac helicopter from Mercy Air in Pahrump, Nevada, arrived and transported Sanchez to Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas. Nattrass was later joined by rangers Scott Bagocious and Mike Nattrass, and an Inyo County sheriff’s deputy. San Bernardino County Sheriffs Department investigators arrived later in the afternoon. San Bernadino County is leading the investigation. Lake Mead is providing CISM support.
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