California man found dead in Death Valley after car ran out of gas, officials say


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A 67-year-old California man was found dead in Death Valley National Park after his vehicle apparently ran out of gas during a period of record-breaking heat, officials say. 

The body of David Kelleher of Huntington Beach was found by tourists Tuesday afternoon “about 30 feet from California Highway 190, obscured by terrain and a mesquite tree,” the National Park Service said in a statement. 

“Kelleher appears to have been walking from Zabriskie Point toward Furnace Creek after running out of gas,” officials said. 

Park staff launched an investigation June 11 after a ranger saw a vehicle that had been parked for three days in the Zabriskie Point parking lot, one of the most popular areas in the park for its views.

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Kelleher’s vehicle was parked at the Zabriskie Point parking lot, according to the National Park Service.
(Google Maps)

Officials say a crumpled note inside Kelleher’s vehicle said “Out of gas” and that he had not been reported missing. 

Around that time, a heat wave caused record temperatures, soaring to 123 degrees, they added. 

The National Park Service says Kelleher "appears to have been walking from Zabriskie Point toward Furnace Creek," which has a gas station. 

The National Park Service says Kelleher “appears to have been walking from Zabriskie Point toward Furnace Creek,” which has a gas station. 
(Google Maps)

Park officials also said they searched for Kelleher’s body near the Golden Canyon and Badlands trails, “not where he was later found.” 

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Park officials encourage individuals to sit in their vehicles rather than walking for assistance in extreme heat.

Park officials encourage individuals to sit in their vehicles rather than walking for assistance in extreme heat.
(iStock)

DEATH VALLEY HIKERS DIE ON SAME TRAIL DAYS APART AMID HOT TEMPERATURES

The National Park Service encourages park visitors to stay safe in the summer by not hiking at low elevations after 10 a.m., staying within a short walk of air conditioning, drinking plenty of water and eating salty snacks,” it said in a statement. 

This is the second fatality in Death Valley in the past month, according to the park. On June 1, John McCarry, 69, of Long Beach, was found dead in Panamint Valley. 

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report. 



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