Heat kills European tourist couple in Californian desert
Published 26/08/2011 | 10:06
TWO bodies found earlier this week in the Joshua Tree national park in California have been identified as a Dutch music promoter and his German girlfriend.
It is believed they died of heat stroke after abandoning their hire car.
Augustinus Van Hove and Helena Nuellett had driven in to the park on Monday when temperatures reached 105 degrees.
Later that day, a couple found the body of Mr Van Hove on the edge of a seldom-used dirt road on the eastern side of the park.
The body of 38-year-old Ms Nuellett was found about a mile away, while the vehicle they had rented -- a Dodge Charger sedan -- was found a further five miles away on the same road.
Investigators believe their car got into difficulty and that the couple had attempted to walk back to a main road.
"It doesn't take long to go from being in trouble to being in a life-threatening situation," said park spokesman Joe Zarki.
"Heat exhaustion or heat stroke could happen very quickly, your brain and body malfunctions seriously."
He said the road had signs warning drivers it should only be used by four-wheel-drive vehicles.
A spokeswoman for the Riverside County Sheriff's Department said the cause of the deaths was still being determined, but evidence indicates the victims "both succumbed due to exposure to the elements."