Man dies hiking in Death Valley amid 118 degree heat


Photo by Amy Graff

RECORD - The only apartments in Badwater Basin are seen inside Death Valley National Park on June 17, 2021 in Inner County, California.

RECORD – The only apartments in Badwater Basin are seen inside Death Valley National Park on June 17, 2021 in Indo County, California.

PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP via Getty Images

Authorities said they found a 68-year-old man from Tukwila, Washington.

Douglas Branham missed a scheduled flight home to Washington with a family member named the Death Valley Inn on the morning of July 28 and learned that his belongings were still in his hotel room, the park said in a statement.

Family members said the Branham park planned to travel a 12-mile route across single flats from the Badwater Rom basin to West Side Road and back.

The Inyo County Coroner’s Office is investigating the cause of death, but a preliminary investigation revealed that Branham likely began his trip on Sunday or Monday, when temperatures were up to 118 ° F, and humidity up to 91%.


Death Valley experiences extreme heat in the summer and the park advises against hiking after 10 am. The park’s warmest temperature has been seen so far this year is 130 degrees on July 9th.

Branham was found about two miles from the road in Death Valley by a CHP helicopter at 2:25 pm on July 28th. “Helicopter rotors are struggling to create enough lift in hot air, and temperatures were about 115 ° F at the time,” the park said. “The helicopter landed at Furnace Creek airport to cut off equipment to lighten the helicopter before returning with a park guard to retrieve his body.”

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