Tragedy struck in Big Bend National Park in Texas when a Florida man and his stepson died during a hike in the scorching heat of the Southern USA. According to park officials, the severe heat in the park was the reason that the pair were unable to make their way out of Big Bend.
In a stark reminder of how dangerous the wilderness can be, the National Park Service released a statement about the two men who were lost on the trail. On the evening of June 23, the National Park Service received a call about the man and his stepson who had been hiking in extremely hot conditions. According to officials, the 14-year-old boy became ill and lost consciousness in 119-degree weather before collapsing to the ground.
At that time, the father began hurrying back to his vehicle to call for help while another brother, 21, started to carry the younger brother back to safety. The National Park Service said, “A team of Park Rangers and U.S. Border Patrol Agents reached the scene at approximately 7:30 pm and located the young victim deceased along the trail.”
Then, the rescue teams began an effort to locate the father, who had not been found since the officials found the brothers. The press release details the finding of the father, saying, “A search was then initiated for the father. At approximately 8:00 pm, his vehicle was located crashed over the embankment at the Boquillas Overlook. The 31-year-old male was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash.”
This all took place along the Marufo Vega Trail, which takes a toll on hikers by following a rugged pass of desert and rocky cliffs. Running along the Rio Grande, temperatures have been extreme in the park with daily highs often reaching well in excess of 110 Fahrenheit. The NPS made it clear that an investigation is still ongoing, and thus, no more details will be provided at this time.
The National Park Service has also posted an extreme heat advisory for Big Bend National Park, saying, “Possibly life threatening temperatures of 110 degrees or higher is expected in the lower elevations with temperatures over 100 in the mountains. Areas along the Trans Pecos may reach as high as 115 degrees and along the Rio Grande, as high as 118. Stay hydrated, especially if going outdoors and limit time outside during the hottest part of the day.”
This tragic event outlines some of the greatest dangers of the wilderness. While many precautions are often taken for animals like snakes and bears, the most inane things about uninhabited areas like Big Bend can become deadly if one is underprepared. Extreme heat, especially combined with exhaustion and dehydration, can be just as deadly as any animal found in that park.
Thoughts and prayers are with the family members who lost two loved ones on this trip to the park, and hopefully, some good can come of it as others make certain that they are prepared before taking on such a hike.
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