Tourist dies after car breaks down trying to find gas station in extreme 50C heat

Retired naval officer David Kelleher was found dead after trying to find gas for his car after it broke down in 50C heat in America’s Death Valley

Rangers found the man's car with a note saying he went to get gas
Rangers found the man’s car with a note saying he went to get gas

A tourist died while looking for gas after his car broke down in America’s Death Valley in temperatures of 50C.

Park officials say retired Marine Corp Capt. David Kelleher was found more than two miles from his vehicle — and just 30 feet from California Highway 190.

The Death Valley National Park ranger first noticed that his car was parked at Zabriskie Point, a popular spot for watching sunrise and sunset.

The same ranger then noticed three days later that the car hadn’t been moved and took a closer look at the vehicle when he spotted a sign that read “No Gas.”

Officials say extreme temperatures of 123F (50.5C) limited search efforts for Mr. Kelleher.

The National Park Service reported the 67-year-old was summoned on May 30 for off-road driving and told a ranger at the time that he was low on gas.

David Kelleher served 22 years



The park service said in a statement: “Kelleher’s body was found by park visitors around 2pm on June 14.

“Kelleher was about 2.5 miles from her vehicle but only about 30 feet off California Highway 190, obscured by terrain and a mesquite tree.”

A Facebook page honoring Mr. Kelleher described him as: “A proud veteran who served in the US Marine Corps for 22 years.

“He retired as a captain in 1994, at his last post at Camp Futenma in Okinawa, Japan.

He had been spotted by a ranger in Death Valley


(Getty Images)

“Those wishing to express their sympathy should consider making a donation to Wounded Warriors Family Support.”

Earlier this month, amid rising temperatures, the body of 69-year-old John McCarr was also found in the area.

Park rangers have warned people to wait in broken-down vehicles in extreme heat rather than trying to get help.

Death Valley recorded its highest-ever temperature in June 2020 when it reached 130°F – the equivalent of 54°C.

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Fry Electronics Team

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