60-year-old dies during last half-mile of Grand Canyon hike, park officials say

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A Grand Canyon hiker was a half-mile from the trailhead when he died, park officials said.

William Smith, a 60-year-old from Oswego, Illinois, had just completed a day hike Tuesday when bystanders rushed to give him CPR, Grand Canyon National Park officials said.

He was hiking out of the canyon after going to Ooh Ahh Point, a popular 1.7-mile trail.

“Bystanders initiated CPR and National Park Service EMS personnel responded and assisted with resuscitation efforts,” park officials said in a Wednesday news release. “All attempts to resuscitate the victim were unsuccessful.”

The incident is under investigation, and park officials didn’t share additional details on what led to Smith’s death.

It’s the second fatality at the Grand Canyon in the past week. On Sunday, a backpacker died after falling ill from extreme heat. She became disoriented and later unconscious.

Grand Canyon backpacker dies in 115-degree heat. How to stay safe as temperatures soar

It was at least 115 degrees Sunday, and park officials said exposed parts of the trail can get hotter than 120 degrees. In the past, the Grand Canyon has been so hot that shoes melted and fell apart.

Park officials did not say if Smith’s death was thought to be heat related.

“Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks including heat exhaustion, heat stroke, hyponatremia, and death,” park officials said.

If you plan to hike in brutal temperatures, the National Park Service recommends these tips:

  • Carry and drink plenty of water and plan to replenish electrolytes

  • Eat twice as much food as normal and have salty foods on hand

  • Carry a first-aid kit

  • Pack essentials only

  • Bring a flashlight with spare batteries to hike during the cool evening

  • Spray yourself with water to cool down

  • Have a hat and sunscreen as protection from the sun

  • Have a whistle or signal for emergency use

  • Wear waterproof clothing

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