The National Park Service confirmed that a woman died on Monday after collapsing on a path in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. According to the organization, this was the second hiker fatality in the park in as many weeks.
Officials said that at 3:30 p.m. on Monday, park rangers and a U.S. Border Patrol agent discovered the unresponsive 64-year-old lady. The NPS said it took emergency responders 45 minutes to reach the woman after they were called about her breakdown.
The National Park Service
They “immediately began CPR” until a Border Patrol chopper arrived to take the woman from the park to the hospital. All efforts to revive the hiker were futile, the NPS said in a press release confirming his death.
The agency didn’t reveal precisely what killed the victim. The trail where she passed out, Hot Springs Canyon Trail, goes approximately three miles across rough desert terrain and sheer cliffs across the Rio Grande, as the press release pointed out. The National Park Service warns that hiking the trek in the afternoon without shade and drink can be perilous.
Big Bend National Park, in southwestern Texas, is a protected area of the immense Chihuahuan Desert, recognized for its harsh desert climate. The park is located close to Texas’s border with Mexico. The National Park Service warns that temperatures can rise by as much as 10 degrees in low-lying portions of the park, such as those along the river.
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The agency does not provide the exact instructions for visitors arriving in the fall, winter, or spring, when the weather is often a little cooler, even though it specifically urges them to take heat safety precautions and avoid outdoor activities during noon hours in the summer.
Nonetheless, this week has been particularly hot for the area, with “unseasonable warmth” being recorded across southern Texas, citing the National Weather Service. Rio Grande Village, located approximately 20 miles east of Big Bend, recorded a high temperature of 97 degrees on Monday, according to the NWS.
“Big Bend National Park staff and our partners are saddened by this loss,” said Rick Gupman, the acting deputy superintendent at the park, in a statement responding to the woman’s death at Hot Springs Canyon Trail. “While we can’t conclude that weather was a factor in this incident, March reminds us that the beauty of Spring often brings dangerously hot temperatures to Big Bend. Our entire Big Bend family extends our deep condolences to the hiker’s family and friends.”
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In less than three weeks, two deaths have been recorded at Big Bend National Park. On February 18, a 56-year-old man passed away after allegedly having chest issues while hiking the Pinnacles Trail in the park. Friends of the hiker and park rangers tried to revive him using CPR and a defibrillator, but they were unable.