Two Europeans die from California heat
Two European tourists have died from heat exposure in California's Joshua Tree park, US officials said Thursday, calling on visitors to exercise extreme caution during the region's current heatwave.
Music producer Augustinus Van Hove, 44, from the Netherlands, was found dead on Monday, said the local police department. The body of his companion, 38-year-old German Helena Nuellett, was found a mile away on the same road.
"Although the investigation continues and toxicology results are not yet in, at this point there is no sign of obvious injury to either person and the evidence indicates the pair both succumbed due to exposure to the elements," said Raymond Gregory of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.
The couple had entered the iconic California park shortly after noon Monday. Their vehicle became apparently stuck in sand on a road that officials said was accessible only by an all-terrain vehicle. Empty water bottles were found in the vehicle.
On Thursday, Joshua Tree officials repeated their call for vigilance against the extreme conditions hitting the US southwest this week, with temperatures climbing to a dangerous 46 degrees Celsius (114 degrees Fahrenheit).
"You need to be pretty self-reliant," said National Park Service ranger Joe Zarki.
"There are very few natural sources of water out there. When you're in an enclosed vehicle with the air conditioner going, you don't appreciate the fact that you could be just a few minutes away from an emergency."
© 2011 AFP