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4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...

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Offline chuckyd

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4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« on: June 23, 2008, 04:05:20 PM »
Hi All:
Just got back from our Big Bend trip yesterday (3 days total).
Happen to talk with Ranger Rob friday at Panther Junction and he mentioned that 4 people had died from heat related causes within the last 30 days.
The first elderly gentleman was hiking one of the trailes in the basin and was over come by heat and had an apparent heart attack.
The second was a group of 3 Hispanics (age in the mid 20"s) from the Boquillas Del Carmen Village.
Story goes one had his wife visiting her sister in Fort Stockton and had some complications with her child birth. They sent word to husband to get up here quick. He had 2 companions go along. Rather than seek crossing at Del Rio or Presido they crossed at the village on foot trying to make it to McKinney Spring for water refill.
They somehow missed the Spring and ran out of water. The first body was found by a hiker near the trail past McKinney Spring. The park officials were notified, and an investigation began. It took them 10 days to find the other 2 bodies. Each had only one empty canteen on them.
The temperture had been in the mid 100"s in the lower desert the week that it took place.
I feel sorry the the expectant mother, who has now lost her husband.

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Offline sleepy

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #1 on: June 23, 2008, 04:20:14 PM »
damn, that story gets worse every time.  saying a prayer for all concerned.


It's never too late to be what you might have been-Geroge Elliot

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SHANEA

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2008, 05:16:56 PM »
damn, that story gets worse every time.  saying a prayer for all concerned.

and it's only June...

Dang, that must be a really horrid way to die - of thirst.  So close to civilization/PJ/highway and yet so far.

To borrow BDANN's line "water, it does a body good".

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What are the symptoms of dehydration?

The following are the most common symptoms of dehydration. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

    * thirst
    * less-frequent urination
    * dry skin
    * fatigue
    * light-headedness
    * dizziness
    * confusion
    * dry mouth with mucous membrane
    * increased heart rate and breathing

In children, additional symptoms may include:

    * dry mouth and tongue
    * no tears when crying
    * no wet diapers for more than three hours
    * sunken abdomen, eyes, or cheeks
    * high fever
    * listlessness
    * irritability
    * skin that does not flatten when pinched and released

The symptoms of dehydration may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

Treatment for dehydration:

If caught early, dehydration can often be treated at home under a physician's guidance. In children, directions for giving food and fluids will differ according to the cause of the dehydration, so it is important to consult your child's physician.

In cases of mild dehydration, simple rehydration is recommended by drinking fluids. Many sports drinks on the market effectively restore body fluids, electrolytes, and salt balance.

For moderate dehydration, intravenous (IV) fluids may be required, although, if caught early enough, simple rehydration may be effective. Cases of serious dehydration should be treated as a medical emergency, and hospitalization, along with intravenous fluids, is necessary. Immediate action should be taken.
How can dehydration be prevented?

Take precautionary measures to avoid the harmful effects of dehydration, including the following:

    * Drink plenty of fluids, especially when working or playing in the sun.
    * Make sure you are taking in more fluid than you are losing.
    * Try to schedule physical outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day.
    * Drink appropriate sports drinks to help maintain electrolyte balance.
    * For infants and young children, solutions such as Pedialyte® will help maintain electrolyte balance during illness or heat exposure. Do not try to make fluid and salt solutions at home for children.

What is heat stroke?

Heat stroke is the most severe form of heat illness and is a life-threatening emergency. It is the result of long, extreme exposure to the sun, in which a person does not sweat enough to lower body temperature. The elderly, infants, persons who work outdoors, and those on certain types of medications are most susceptible to heat stroke. It is a condition that develops rapidly and requires immediate medical treatment.
What causes heat stroke?

Our bodies produce a tremendous amount of internal heat and we normally cool ourselves by sweating and radiating heat through the skin. However, in certain circumstances, such as extreme heat, high humidity, or vigorous activity in the hot sun, this cooling system may begin to fail, allowing heat to build up to dangerous levels.

If a person becomes dehydrated and cannot sweat enough to cool their body, their internal temperature may rise to dangerously high levels, causing heat stroke.
What are the symptoms of heat stroke?

The following are the most common symptoms of heat stroke. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

    * headache
    * dizziness
    * disorientation, agitation, or confusion
    * sluggishness or fatigue
    * seizure
    * hot, dry skin that is flushed but not sweaty
    * a high body temperature
    * loss of consciousness
    * rapid heartbeat
    * hallucinations

The symptoms of a heat stroke may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Treatment for heat stroke:

It is important for the person to be treated immediately as heat stroke can cause permanent damage or death. There are some immediate first-aid measures you can take while waiting for help to arrive, including the following:

    * Get the person indoors.
    * Remove clothing and gently apply cool water to the skin followed by fanning to stimulate sweating.
    * Apply ice packs to the groin and armpits.
    * Have the person lie down in a cool area with their feet slightly elevated.

Intravenous (IV) fluids are often necessary to compensate for fluid or electrolyte loss. Bed rest is generally advised and body temperature may fluctuate abnormally for weeks after heat stroke.
How can heat stroke be prevented?

There are precautions that can help protect you against the adverse effects of heat stroke. These include the following:

    * Drink plenty of fluids during outdoor activities, especially on hot days. Water and sports drinks are the drinks of choice. Avoid tea, coffee, soda, and alcohol, as these can lead to dehydration.
    * Wear lightweight, tightly woven, loose-fitting clothing in light colors.
    * Schedule vigorous activity and sports for cooler times of the day.
    * Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a hat, sunglasses and using an umbrella.
    * Increase time spent outdoors gradually to get your body used to the heat.
    * During outdoor activities, take frequent drink breaks and mist yourself with a spray bottle to avoid becoming overheated.
    * Try to spend as much time indoors as possible on very hot and humid days.

If you live in a hot climate and have a chronic condition, talk to your physician about extra precautions you can take to protect yourself against heat stroke.

from:  Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

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Offline badknees

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2008, 06:19:23 PM »
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There are precautions that can help protect you against the adverse effects of heat stroke.

Badknees rule numero uno - Don't hike across the desert in the summer (or anytime) with no water :eusa_hand:. The unfortunate souls from Boquillas tried to make McKinney Springs with 1 canteen of water each. That is close to 20 miles depending on which route they took. It was a very bad choice. You would have thought that folks from Boquillas would understand the hazards of the open desert. GR their souls.
Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

Through the Mirror
http://mirrormagic.com

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SHANEA

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2008, 06:49:39 PM »
The NPS Morning Report http://home.nps.gov/applications/morningreport/ reports the following for June 18th.  NOTE:  Permanent Link to this does NOT exist due to NPS rules/regulations on prior morning reports.  See discussion somewhere on this board concerning it.

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Big Bend National Park (TX)
Bodies Of Three Mexican Nationals Found In Park

On June 5th, rangers received a visitor report through 911 of a body off the side of Old Ore Road, an isolated dirt road located in the northeast portion of the park. Rangers and Border Patrol agents responded and confirmed the report. The park has experienced triple digit temperatures for over a month, making any cross country desert travel or search extremely hazardous. Rangers conducted interviews with individuals living in the border town of Boquillas, Mexico, adjacent to the park. They obtained tentative identification of a man matching the description of the deceased along with information that he crossed into the U.S. with two others on May 30th. Backtracking further from the location where the first individual was located, rangers found a second body on June 9th.  The systematic search of the 30-mile-long suspected travel route of the three individuals concluded on June 16th with the discovery of the body of the third person on an abandoned road near Telephone Canyon. Three backpacks were also found nearby. Identification of at least one of the victims was found within a pack. The bodies were transported to El Paso for autopsies and positive identification. Because the deceased were citizens of Mexico, park officials are in contact with a Mexican consulate office. Rangers continue to interview relatives in the U.S. and Mexico by phone for information to assist with identification. Additional information was received concerning others who may have entered the U.S. through the park and failed to arrive on schedule at their intended destinations. [Submitted by Mark Spier, Chief Ranger]

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SHANEA

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2008, 06:51:51 PM »
The first elderly gentleman was hiking one of the trailes in the basin and was over come by heat and had an apparent heart attack.

Hasn't been any mention of it in any of the local papers or on the NPS BIBE or NPS Morning Report websites.   :eusa_think:

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Offline Casa Grande

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #7 on: June 24, 2008, 05:11:36 PM »
As said above, dying of thirst would have to be very unpleasant way to end it. 

I think the closest I got to that point was when I had the (stupid) idea to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back to the rim as a day trip back in Aug 2003.  Temps at the rim at sunrise were only around 50F, but the temps at Phantom Ranch at the bottom were over 110F at noon. 

About halfway up the Devil's Corkscrew on the Bright Angel Trail, I thought I was going to pass out.  The sun was relentless, I found myself hugging the rock walls looking for even a sliver of shade.  I lost 10 lbs in that single day.  Took about a week to fully recover.

I can only imagine what those 3 guys went through while trying to hike that 20 miles, and the feeling they must have had when they left each one of their friends and pressed on. 

It just goes to show that we all do stupid things in our lives, and sometimes we are lucky, but sometimes our luck runs out.

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SHANEA

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2008, 05:31:07 PM »
As said above, dying of thirst would have to be very unpleasant way to end it. 

Yep.  There are quite a few unpleasant ways to walk out of this world on a final foot note on.
burning to death, USS Indianapolis,  etc. and dying of thirst ranks right up there. 

Personally, I can't even fathom what it would be like to die of thirst - never even been in the thresholds of it.  Thirsty yes, thirsty to death no.  I've seen the old westerns, etc. where people eat sand, rip off their clothes and go running through the desert buck neked, seeing mirages, etc.  How true any of that is, wouldn't have a clue - nor do I ever plan on finding out.

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chisos_muse

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2008, 08:08:30 PM »
I just can't even imaging trying to walk that with 1 canteen. I'm sure they had no knowledge of what they were embarking on and the factors that played into their survival....

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Offline homerboy2u

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2008, 08:33:21 PM »
I just can't even imaging trying to walk that with 1 canteen. I'm sure they had no knowledge of what they were embarking on and the factors that played into their survival....

 Muse and everyone: You should be surprised how many young folks come in to the desert so naive, thinking is just like crossing the street back home and try to cross the Chihuahuan desert by themselves, realizing too late how wrong they were to try and do it.

  I am sure you all remember when we went on the La Linda trip , last year and we stumble with three cousins which one of them almost dehydrated on us, until we got them to help in Muzquiz.

  Had we not been there, at that time you would have added three more to the count. But these guys were not missed back home,yet, and they did not know where they were when we picked them up.
Stay thirsty, my friends.

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Offline Burn Ban

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2008, 08:23:27 AM »
As said above, dying of thirst would have to be very unpleasant way to end it. 

Yep.  There are quite a few unpleasant ways to walk out of this world on a final foot note on.
burning to death, USS Indianapolis,  etc. and dying of thirst ranks right up there. 

\

i have done a little reading and understand that one of the advanced stages of dehydration is insanity.  those "old west movie" ideas seem to make a little sense to me. 

though you may have noticed that i'm not dead, i have had a little more experience with fire than most have.  it surely must be one of the very worst ways to die.


stories like that of these three men provide a more valid, less isolationist reason for advocating greater border regulation (if it were even possible to accomplish.)

either way it's very unfortunate.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2008, 08:27:58 AM by Burn Ban »

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Offline dkerr24

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Re: 4 Heat related deaths in Big Bend in the last 30 days...
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2008, 09:44:51 AM »
I agree with the insanity part of dehydration ... when I was climbing out of the Grand Canyon on Bright Angel trail, there is a stream that runs parallel to the trail for a good portion of the climb.  For whatever reason, my mind was telling me I wasn't hot and didn't need to sit down in that stream and cool off.  Anyone I've told this story to has asked me that same question... 'why the heck didn't you go sit in that stream?'


 


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