A Southern California man was found dead in Death Valley on Tuesday.
David Kelleher, 67, ran out of gas, parked his car and began walking, the National Park Service said Wednesday in a statement.
Kelleher’s car was spotted at Zabriskie Point on June 8, according to the statement. A park ranger noticed the same car still parked three days later.
Park officials investigated the car and learned it was registered to Kelleher, a Huntington Beach resident. He had not been reported missing, but rangers began searching for him anyway. However, the search was limited by scorching temperatures in Death Valley, which reached 123 degrees this week.
Visitors found Kelleher’s body in between Zabriskie Point and Furnace Creek. Rangers assumed Kelleher was walking toward Furnace Creek, which has several establishments including a gas station. His body was only about 30 feet from California Highway 190, but a view of the road was blocked by park terrain and a tree.
Kelleher made it about 2.5 miles from his vehicle; Zabriskie Point to Furnace Creek is about three miles as the crow flies.
“Park rangers say in extreme heat, people should wait at a broken vehicle, rather than attempting to walk for assistance,” the statement said. “Kelleher’s vehicle was parked at one of the park’s most popular viewpoints.”
Another Southern California man, 69-year-old John McCarry of Long Beach, was found dead in the park on June 1.