1 dead, 5 rescued with heat-related illness at Lake Mead

National Park Service warns of excessive heat

Lake Mead. Photo courtesy USGS/Stephen Wessells.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Photo courtesy USGS/Stephen Wessells.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — National Park Service rangers are warning about excessive heat at Lake Mead National Recreation Area after rescuing five people in the White Rock Canyon area, all showing symptoms of heat-related illness.

Another member of the group, Clawson Bowman Jr., a 69-year-old Las Vegas resident, died in the same area, but National Park Service did not specify if the death was heat-related, saying only that the Mohave County Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.

The June 8 search and rescue operation involved a party of two adult males and four Boy Scouts. The search started about 1 p.m. Saturday after the Lake Mead National Recreation Area Interagency Communication Center received a report from the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office stating four Boy Scouts were lost near the Arizona Hot Springs. Lake Mead NRA Rangers and Fire were dispatched to the area to conduct a search.

At 2:21 p.m., the Lake Mead NRA ICC received another call reporting that two adult males were suffering from heat stroke around the same area.

Rangers made contact with Bowman at 3:21 p.m. about one-mile from the trailhead. He was pronounced dead on arrival. The Mohave County Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death.

The second adult male was located in the area at 3:42 p.m. He was provided advanced life support care until he was rescued by air at 5:54 p.m.

The Boy Scouts maintained phone communication with Lake Mead NRA ICC throughout the search. They were located by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Air Support at 4:59 p.m.

All four Boy Scouts were safely transported from the area by Metro Air by 5:31 p.m. They were treated by paramedics at the trailhead.

“Our sympathies go out to the Bowman family,” said Christie Vanover, park spokesperson. “We are thankful that, with the support of around 30 first responders, the others were safely rescued. The boys were very brave this afternoon as they tried to explain their location to our dispatchers.”

Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire District and AMR River Medical also assisted with the search.

Lake Mead National Recreation Area is under an excessive heat warning until 8 p.m. June 9. Temperatures throughout the park are near or above 110 degrees. Hiking in this heat is highly discouraged.

To learn more about the signs, symptoms and first aid for heat exhaustion and heat stroke, visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/heatstress/. Temperatures in the park are expected to stay in the triple digits the next seven days.

“These extreme temps could lead to heat related injuries if precautions are not taken. We discourage people from hiking or participating in other strenuous outdoor activities at Lake Mead National Recreation Area while the warning is in place,” said Christie Vanover, park spokeswoman.

People exposed to extreme heat may be at risk of heat stress. Some symptoms include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, chills, throbbing headaches, dizziness, extreme weakness or muscle cramps.

“If you, or someone you’re with, begins to feel tired and flushed and begins to sweat excessively, you may be suffering from heat exhaustion,” said Vanover. “Stop any strenuous activities immediately, drink water and find a cool place to rest.”

If someone becomes disoriented, stops sweating, has hot dry skin, or even worse, passes out, that person is probably experiencing heat stroke, which is a serious medical condition.

“If someone experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately,” said Vanover.

People exposed to extreme heat should avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages because they increase stress on the body and accelerate dehydration.

“If you’re coming out to enjoy Lake Mead or Lake Mohave this week, use a buddy system, monitor the condition of your friends and have someone do the same for you,” said Vanover. “Bring plenty of water and don’t forget to provide water and shade for your pets.”


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