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2 hiker deaths in less than 5 days reported at Death Valley National Park


By Web Staff

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    LOS ANGELES (KCAL) — Two men died while hiking in Death Valley National Park in less than five days, park officials said Tuesday.

Both deaths happened as they hiked near the Golden Canyon Trail in Death Valley National Park, where temperatures reach triple digits by 10 a.m. in the summer.

A morning hiker found 52-year-old Blake Chaplin of Leawood, Kan. near the Manly Beacon formation along the Golden Canyon Trail Saturday, according to the National Park Service. A search and rescue team was needed to hike in to recover Chaplin’s body because no helicopters were available at the time to assist.

Chaplin’s death is under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.

Just four days earlier, 60-year-old Lawrence Stanback of San Francisco died while he hiked near Red Cathedral along the Golden Canyon Trail. Park staff were notified of a suspected heat stroke and CPR in progress at 1:40 p.m. When a search and rescue team and park rangers arrived, Stanback was pronounced dead.

Stanback’s body was recovered by a CHP helicopter after temperatures cooled and winds calmed enough to allow a safe landing.

Temperatures at the park reached 109 degrees this weekend, which was markedly cooler than the daily normal of 115 degrees. But even in comparatively cooler conditions, visitors to Death Valley National Park should still take precautions, such as limiting hikes and other strenuous activity to before 10 a.m., drinking plenty of water, eating salty snacks, and staying close to air conditioning.

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