LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – A motorcyclist died from heat exposure in Death Valley National Park on Saturday amid record-breaking temperatures, according to Death Valley officials.

Park officials said the visitor, who was part of a group of motorcyclists traveling through the Death Valley, died near Badwater Basin, in Inyo County, California, from heat exposure. Another motorcyclist was treated for severe heat illness and transported to Las Vegas. Four others were treated onsite and released.


Preliminary data showed that Saturday and Sunday’s high temperature at Death Valley was 128 degrees Fahrenheit, which surpassed the previous official record of 127 degrees, recorded in 2007.

Due to the high temperatures, emergency medical flight helicopters were unable to respond, as they generally cannot fly safely over 120 degrees, according to Death Valley.

“High heat like this can pose real threats to your health,” Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds said. “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.”

A road sign in Death Valley warns travelers of extreme heat. (Getty Images)

Once a heat index of 99 degrees is exceeded, ambient air no longer helps provide relief, Death Valley officials added. And because the group was traveling by motorcycle, they were not able to cool down while riding due to high ambient air temperatures and because of the necessary heavy safety gear worn to reduce injuries in the event of an accident.

Additional deaths were recorded this year amid record-breaking heat, including at least 13 heat-related deaths in Maricopa County — home to Phoenix, America’s hottest big city — while another 160 deaths in the county are suspected to be related to the heat, the Associated Press reported.

The death of a 10-year-old boy last week in Phoenix also appeared to be due to a “heat-related medical event” during a hike with family, according to police.

During a heatwave, it is not recommended to go hiking, especially at lower elevations. Officials say to avoid the sun and seek shade or air-conditioning during the hottest part of the day. Those going outdoors during a heatwave are also urged to wear loose-fitting lightweight clothing, sunscreen, hats, and consider carrying a sun umbrella. It is also important to drink plenty of water and eat salty snacks.  

The Associated Press contributed to this report.