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Motorcyclist dies at Death Valley National Park, another hospitalized amid triple-digit heat

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A motorcyclist died Saturday from suspected heat exposure in California’s Death Valley National Park, and another was hospitalized as sweltering temperatures shattered records in the West over the weekend.

Officials did not release any details about the motorcyclist who died. The other motorcyclist was rushed to a Las Vegas hospital for “severe heat illness,” the park said in a statement. No details about their condition were immediately provided.

The two victims were riding through the Badwater Basin area of the park as part of a group of six motorcyclists, the park said. The other four members of the party were treated at the scene.

Temperatures at the park over the weekend hit a high of 128 F.

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The sign for Death Valley National Park

Temperatures at California’s Death Valley National Park hit highs of 128 degrees on Saturday and Sunday. (Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images, File)

The scorching temperatures prevented emergency medical helicopters from responding, as the aircraft cannot generally fly safely over 120 F, officials said.

Salt flats at Badwater Basin

Salt flats at Badwater Basin are pictured in Death Valley National Park. The park is known for its extreme temperatures, vast deserts and unique geological features. (Gabe Ginsberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, File)

The park was under an “extreme summer heat” alert, which advises visitors to avoid hiking after 10 a.m., drink plenty of water and “travel prepared to survive.”

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Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds echoed a similar warning in a statement.

“While this is a very exciting time to experience potential world record setting temperatures in Death Valley, we encourage visitors to choose their activities carefully, avoiding prolonged periods of time outside of an air-conditioned vehicle or building when temperatures are this high,” Reynolds said.

heat warning sign at Death Valley National Park

As one of the hottest places on Earth, the park boasts dramatic landscapes, including salt flats, sand dunes and rugged mountains. (Gabe Ginsberg/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, File)

Officials warned that heat illness and injury are cumulative and can build over the course of a day or days.

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“Besides not being able to cool down while riding due to high ambient air temperatures, experiencing Death Valley by motorcycle when it is this hot is further challenged by the necessary heavy safety gear worn to reduce injuries during an accident,” the park statement said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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