Man found dead in Death Valley after running out of gas in scorching heat, park officials say

Death Valley National Park officials said David Kelleher, 67, appeared to have been walking...
Death Valley National Park officials said David Kelleher, 67, appeared to have been walking from Zabriskie Point (pictured) toward Furnace Creek after running out of gas.(Prayitno/Flickr/CC BY 2.0 via MGN)
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 8:07 AM PDT
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DEATH VALLEY, Calif. (Gray News) – A man was found dead in Death Valley National Park after he appeared to have run out of gas and was walking to find help in the scorching heat.

Park officials said the body of David Kelleher, 67, was discovered by park visitors on Tuesday.

Kelleher appeared to have been walking from Zabriskie Point toward Furnace Creek after running out of gas.

Park officials said a crumpled note was found inside Kelleher’s vehicle that read, “Out of gas.”

A heat wave caused record temperatures in the valley, rising to 123 degrees.

Park rangers advise that in extreme heat, it is better to wait with your broken-down vehicle rather than attempt to walk for assistance. They said Kelleher’s car was parked at one of the park’s most popular viewpoints.

Kelleher’s body was found by park visitors about 2.5 miles from his vehicle. However, the body was located just 30 feet from a highway, but the view was obscured by terrain and trees.

This is Death Valley National Park’s second recent fatality. John McCarry, 69, was found dead in the park on June 1.

The National Park Service encourages park visitors to stay safe in the summer by not hiking at low elevations after 10 a.m., staying within a short walk of air conditioning, drinking plenty of water, and eating salty snacks.

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