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Death Valley National Park

Motorcyclist dies in Death Valley from extreme heat, 5 others treated

Authorities are investigating after they said person on a motorcycle died of heat exposure at Death Valley National Park over the weekend as temperatures broke a record high in the region.

National Park Service Rangers reported the death took place near on Saturday, when the temperature at Death Valley reached a record 128 degrees. The salt flats in Inyo County are not far from the California-Nevada state line, by motor vehicle.

The rider was with a group of six motorcyclists traveling through the park, rangers announced in a Monday news release. Another one of the riders, officials reported, was taken to a hospital in Las Vegas to be treated for severe heat illness.

The four others were treated in the national park and released.

A medical examiner will determine the victim's cause and manner of death.

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Death Valley breaks record high of 128 degrees July 6

Preliminary data recorded 128 degrees as the high temperature on Saturday, according to the park statement, beating the official daily record in Death Valley of 127 degrees, recorded in 2007.

"Due to the high temperatures, emergency medical flight helicopters were unable to respond, as they cannot generally fly safely over 120 degrees," the statement continues.

Badwater Basin seen from Dante's View overlook at Death Valley National Park in California, where park rangers are investigating after a motorcyclist died of heat exposure on July 6, 2024 as temperatures broke a record high in the region.

"Heat illness and injury are cumulative and can build over the course of a day or days," park rangers said. "Besides not being able to cool down while riding due to high ambient air temperatures, experiencing Death Valley by motorcycle when it is this hot is further challenged by the necessary heavy safety gear worn to reduce injuries during an accident."

Park officials warn visitors about extreme heat

Park officials on Monday continued to warn visitors about the danger of spending long periods of time outside during extreme heat.

“High heat like this can pose real threats to your health,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “While this is a very exciting time to experience potential world record setting temperatures in Death Valley, we encourage visitors to choose their activities carefully, avoiding prolonged periods of time outside of an air-conditioned vehicle or building when temperatures are this high.”

Officials also recommended park visitors avoid hiking, especially at lower elevations.

Tips to avoid heat exposure include:

  • Stay out of the sun when possible.
  • Seek shade or air-conditioning during the hottest part of the day.
  • Wear loose fitting lightweight clothing, sunscreen, a hat or carry a sun umbrella.
  • Stay hydrated and eat salty snacks.

Natalie Neysa Alund is a senior reporter for 鶹ý. Reach her at nalund@usatoday.com and follow her on X @nataliealund.

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