Motorcyclist Dead as Intense Heat Wave Does ‘Severe’ Damage in Death Valley

One person died and another was hospitalized over the weekend as Death Valley lived up to its name.

Much of the West was in the grip of triple-digit high temperatures that saw many northern California communities with highs above 110 degrees.

Death Valley National Park in California was cooking at 128 degrees Saturday when a group of six motorcyclists entered Badwater Basin, according to CBS News.

One died and was one hospitalized for “severe heat illness.” The other four members of the group were treated at the scene in weather that was too hot for rescue helicopters to fly.

“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 park’s superintendent, Mike Reynolds, said in a statement.


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“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,” Reynolds said.

Despite the motorcyclist’s death, Death Valley was still an attraction for some, according to The Associated Press.

“I was excited it was going to be this hot,” Drew Belt of Tupelo, Mississippi, said.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Kind of like walking on Mars,” he said.

Las Vegas hit 120 degrees Sunday to set a new record, according to KNTV-TV.

National Weather Service meteorologist Bryan Jackson said temperatures were running 20 degrees above normal.

“We’ve got a real expansive and extreme heatwave ongoing, and it’s expected to continue this week,” he said, according to Sky News.


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Collectively, about 36 million people were covered by extreme heat warnings.

Heat was taking its toll on residents across the West.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, five heat-related deaths were reported in Oregon between Friday and Monday.

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