Two women were found dead in a state park in southern Nevada after a group of hikers noticed they had not returned from their hike, authorities said Sunday, where triple-digit temperatures have scorched the region.
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials said a group of hikers who had seen the women enter the hiking trails at Valley of Fire State Park Saturday morning became concerned when they noticed the pair was missing, KLAS-TV reported.
Although the group of hikers and the two women were not part of the same group, according to KLAS-TV, one member of the group called Nevada State Park Police to perform a welfare check shortly before 3 p.m. When authorities arrived, state police said one woman was found dead on the trail and the other woman was located in a canyon.
State police have not released further information on the incident, including the hikers’ identities or a possible cause of death. The investigation remains ongoing.
Valley of Fire State Park, about 46 miles northeast of downtown Las Vegas, has faced dangerous temperatures this month. The southern part of Nevada remains under an excessive heat warning and temperatures reached 114 degrees on Saturday.
The Clark County Coroner’s Office confirmed earlier this week that Las Vegas has seen at least 16 heat-related deaths but noted the number could be higher, KNTV reported.
Several heat-related deaths have also occurred among hikers amid an ongoing heat wave that has plagued western and southern states with “dangerous, long-lived, and record breaking” temperatures, according to the National Weather Service.
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Heat-related hiking incidents
Officials have reported multiple hiker-related deaths in recent months due to extreme heat.
In California, a mountain biker experienced heat-related symptoms and died after helping rescue dehydrated hikers in 106 degree heat, according to Cal Fire San Diego officials.
The fire department had received a report about four hikers with dehydration and heat-illness-related symptoms near Jacumba. The hikers did not have food or water, according to Cal Fire spokesperson Mike Cornett.
Six people, including two of mountain bikers, were treated at the scene. But one cyclist was taken to a hospital, and later pronounced dead.
High temperatures in Death Valley National Park also may have killed a 71-year-old man, according to the National Park Service. Temperatures had soared to 121 degrees when the man died collapsed outside a restroom near a trailhead.
Park rangers attempted to revive the man with CPR and an automated external defibrillator but were unable to. And hot temperatures prevented a helicopter to respond to the incident.
Other similar incidents have been reported in Arizona and Texas.
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US heat wave shatters records
More than 47 million people were under heat-related alerts on Sunday. Parts of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Florida were in excessive heat warnings while other western and southern states faced heat advisories.
The sweltering heat is expected to last until the end of July, according to the weather service.
Throughout July, temperatures have risen globally and the Earth saw its hottest day on record at the start of the month. Records were broken in several states, including Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming.
Over 110 million Americans were also under some type of heat alert in mid-July, which stretched from the West Coast to Louisiana.
And most of the country is forecast to see a hotter-than-average August. “Widespread above normal temperatures are favored over much of the contiguous U.S.,” the climate center said.
Contributing: Doyle Rice, Kate Perez, Isabelle Butera, and Saman Shafiq, USA TODAY; Associated Press