Motorcyclist dies from extreme heat in Death Valley

DEATH VALLEY, California — A motorcyclist visiting Death Valley National Park died of the extreme heat and another motorcyclist was hospitalized with “extreme heat illness” as temperatures approached 130 degrees.

The park released a statement saying the motorcyclist was part of a group of six people Saturday riding through the Badwater Basin area, according to KABC Channel 7. Four others were treated at the scene as the temperature reached 128 degrees on Saturday.

No information was released on the motorcyclist who died. Emergency helicopters could not respond because they cannot safely fly when temperatures are above 120, KABC reports.

Because the temperature was so high, ambient air offers no cooling effect to motorcycle riders, NBC News reports. The thick gear that motorcyclists often wear for protection while riding compounded the problem.

“High heat like this can pose real threats to your health,” park Superintendent Mike Reynolds said in statement to NBC News. “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.”

Despite the potential dangers, tourists have been visiting the area to experience the heat. Forecasters say there is a chance the temperature in Death Valley could reach 130 degrees, which would tie a world record.

Much of the nation is caught in a heat wave. Las Vegas set a record high on Sunday at 120 degrees.

Triple-digit temperatures were common across Oregon, where several records were toppled, including in Salem, where on Sunday it hit 103, topping the 99 mark set in 1960. On the more-humid East Coast, temperatures above 100 degrees were widespread, though no excessive heat advisories were in effect for Sunday.

(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)

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