LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A 67-year-old California man was found dead in Death Valley National Park on Tuesday after he apparently ran out of gas, according to park officials.
A crumpled note was found inside David Kelleher’s vehicle in the Zabriskie Point parking lot that read “Out of gas.” Officials said he had mentioned being low on gas when cited for off-road driving on May 30.
A park ranger noticed there was only one vehicle in the parking lot on the morning of June 8, and saw the same vehicle alone in the lot again on the evening of June 11.
A heat wave had caused record temperatures of up to 123 degrees that day.
The subsequent search for Kelleher was limited by hot weather and focused away from where he was found on Tuesday afternoon, officials said. He was located about two and a half miles from his car and only about 30 feet from California Highway 190.
Kelleher’s car was parked at one of the park’s most popular spots, and he had not been reported missing.
Kelleher’s death marks the park’s second death this month. Another California resident, 69, was found dead in Panamint Valley on June 1. A search was also initiated on May 23 for Peter Harootunian, whose car was found abandoned in a campground. He has not yet been found.
Park rangers advise that in extreme heat, people should wait at a stalled vehicle instead of trying to walk for help. Park visitors are encouraged to stay safe in the summer by not hiking at low elevations after 10 a.m., staying within a short walk of air conditioning, and drinking lots of water.