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Stepfather and stepson die while hiking in Big Bend park under extreme heat

A stepfather and his stepson died while hiking the Big Bend National Park’s Marufo Vega Trail in Texas while temperatures reached 119 degrees. Photo by Scott Ehardt/Wikimedia Commons
A stepfather and his stepson died while hiking the Big Bend National Park’s Marufo Vega Trail in Texas while temperatures reached 119 degrees. Photo by Scott Ehardt/Wikimedia Commons

June 25 (UPI) -- A stepfather and his stepson died while hiking the Big Bend National Park's Marufo Vega Trail in Texas while temperatures reached 119 degrees.

A stepfather and his two stepsons, ages 14 and 21, were hiking the trail on Friday when the youngest began to feel ill. Big Bend National Park's communications center was alerted at about 6 p.m., according to a press release. The three were visiting from Florida.

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After the youngest stepson fell ill, the father departed the group to seek help while the 21-year-old attempted to carry his brother to the trailhead. When rescuers arrived at about 7:30 p.m., the 14-year-old was dead.

At about 8 p.m. the father was found in a vehicle that had crashed over an embankment. He was 31 years old.

"The Marufo Vega Trail winds through extremely rugged desert and rocky cliffs within the hottest part of Big Bend National Park," the press release reads.

"No shade or water makes this strenuous trail dangerous to attempt in the heat of summer. Big Bend is currently experiencing extreme heat with daily highs reaching 110-119 F at low elevations and along the Rio Grande."

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The rescue team included park rangers and U.S. Border Patrol Agents.

There had been two deaths in Big Bend National Park this year prior to Friday. In March, a 64-year-old man collapsed on the Hot Springs Canyon Trail. Temperatures were in the 90s but the National Park Service did not definitively link the man's death to the heat.

In February, a 56-year-old was hiking with a group when they began to experience chest pains. Rescuers attempted to resuscitate the person but they were not successful.

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