Death Valley National Park
News Release

Release Date:             July 7, 2024
Contact:                       Nichole Andler, 760-786-3279, [email protected]

Visitor dies traveling through Death Valley on motorcycle

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – A park visitor died in Death Valley National Park on July 6, from heat exposure near Badwater Basin. Another visitor was treated for severe heat illness and transported to advanced medical care in Las Vegas, four others were treated onsite and released. All 6 motorcyclists were members of the same party. Due to the high temperatures, emergency medical flight helicopters were unable to respond, as they cannot generally fly safely over 120 degrees.

Preliminary data recorded 128F (53.3C) as the high temperature on July 6. This surpassed the official daily record for Death Valley, 127F (52.8C) recorded in 2007.

“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.”

The group of visitors was traveling by motorcycle. Once heat index of 99F (37.2C) is exceeded, ambient air no longer helps provide relief. Heat illness and injury are cumulative and can build over the course of a day or days. 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.

During this heatwave, it is not recommended to go hiking, especially at lower elevations. Extreme heat can be dangerous, and visitor safety is a priority. Avoid the sun and seek shade or air-conditioning during the hottest part of the day. Wear loose fitting lightweight clothing, sunscreen, hat and consider carrying a sun umbrella. Drink plenty of water and eat salty snack.

Park emergency responders were assisted by additional personnel from Pahrump, NV, Death Valley Natural History Association, the Inyo County Sherriff’s Office, Inyo County Coroner, and the Southern Inyo Fire Protection District from Shoshone, CA.

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