Saturday 21 January 2017

Couple who died in US desert 'saved son (10)'

Raf Sanchez Washington

Published 10/08/2015 | 02:30

David and Ornella Steiner, from the small French town of Bourgogne, were both found dead in the white dunes, but their son Enzo was found alive in the 38C heat
David and Ornella Steiner, from the small French town of Bourgogne, were both found dead in the white dunes, but their son Enzo was found alive in the 38C heat

A French couple who died hiking in searing New Mexico desert heat were praised yesterday for saving the life of their 10-year-old son by giving him the bulk of their water supply.

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David and Ornella Steiner, from the small French town of Bourgogne, were both found dead in the white dunes, but their son Enzo was found alive in the 38C heat. Police said they believed that the parents had given him two sips of water for each one they took themselves, allowing him to cling to life.

"That may be why he fared so well, as he was a lot smaller and probably had twice as much water," said Sheriff Benny House, of Otero County.

The family reportedly packed only two half-litre bottles of water between them - far less than the four litres per person recommended by authorities.

The Steiners' holiday to the southern US began to go wrong on Tuesday morning when Mrs Steiner (51) started to feel unwell during their hike through the White Sands National Monument.

Complaining of the heat, she turned back and started walking towards the car, but collapsed after 100 yards.

Mrs Steiner's body was found by park staff but her husband and son might not have been discovered were it not for the quick thinking of a police officer, who checked her digital camera and discovered an image of the two of them at the park entrance.

Searchers found Mr Steiner (42) and their son deeper in the park. The father had apparently become disoriented in the heat and led his child off the trail.

Irish Independent

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