Body found by hikers near trail in Death Valley National Park

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A rescuer is seen during a body recovery effort on April 5, 2020 at Death Valley National Park.

A rescuer is seen during a body recovery effort on April 5, 2020 at Death Valley National Park. (Inyo County Sheriff’s Department)

A group of hikers found a deceased person near the base of a popular landmark on Saturday at Death Valley National Park, officials reported.

The Inyo County Sheriff's Department released this photo of body recovery on April 5, 2020, in Death Valley.
The Inyo County Sheriff’s Department released this photo of body recovery on April 5, 2020, in Death Valley.

Responding rangers believe the person fell approximately 300 feet from Manly Beacon and was found near the Zabriskie Point trailhead, according to a news release from the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department. Because of insufficient resources and time, a recovery of the body was not attempted that evening.

On Sunday several agencies including the Inyo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Coordinators, Inyo County Search and Rescue, Death Valley National Park Rangers and theCHP – Inland Division Air Operations (H-82) responded to the scene.

“Ground teams recovered the body from its position up a steep and loose draw,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “H-82 hoisted the decedent by air and transferred the body to the Inyo County Coroner’s Office.”

Investigators found a rental vehicle at the trailhead, which NPS Rangers reported was there for about three days prior to the discovery of the decedent.

The person’s identity is still pending positive identification by the Inyo County Coroner’s office.

Death Valley National Park is currently closed to all recreation other than highway through-travel. Officials reminded everyone to stay away from “risky outdoor recreation at this time due to emergency medical care being prioritized by COVID-19 patients and limited rescue resources.”

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