Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

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Paul
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Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by Paul » Wed Aug 24, 2011 5:53 pm

Sad story, but the usual one. Wrong vehicle, wrong place, ill-prepared.

report from Riverside Sheriff office

The man and woman found dead in Joshua Tree National Park on Monday, August 22, 2011, have been positively identified as Augustinus Van Hove, age 44 years, of the Netherlands, and Helena Nuellett, age 38 years, of Germany.

Investigators have determined the pair were tourists who stayed in the Coachella Valley the previous night and were en route in a rental car to Arizona. Evidence indicates they entered the park shortly before noon on the day they were found. The rental car was found abandoned in an area generally deemed impassable to passenger vehicles. Although the investigation continues and toxicology results are not yet in, at this point there is no sign of obvious injury to either person and the evidence indicates the pair both succumbed due to exposure to the elements.

The investigation is ongoing and no other details are available for release. We ask that anyone with additional information about this matter call Investigator Prezell Burgie at (760) 863-8945, or the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Indio Station at (760) 863-8990, or by emailing us at IndioStation@riversidesheriff.org

Details:

We are investigating the death of two people found in the Riverside County portion of Joshua Tree National Park.

About 6:48 PM on Monday, 8/22/11, a couple visiting the national park notified us they found a dead man along the Black Eagle Mine Road. Arriving emergency personnel found the dead man on the edge of the Mine road over a mile and one-half east of Pinto Basin Road, a major thoroughfare for the park.

A few hours later, deputies found the body of a female along the same road, about a mile east of the man. Deputies next found a car stranded on the same road about five miles east of the woman. Investigation shows the man and woman may have been travelling together and may have been using the car we found stranded.

Riverside County firefighter/paramedics assisted us as did a US National Park Service Ranger, Sheriff's Coroner's Bureau personnel, and evidence technicians. The investigation is continuing.

We ask that anyone with information about this matter call Investigator Prezell Burgie at (760) 863-8945, or the Riverside County Sheriff's Department Indio Station at (760) 863-8990, or by emailing us at IndioStation@riversidesheriff.org

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by sardude » Thu Aug 25, 2011 10:44 am

thanx Paul. People do not realize the harshness of the desert environment. One small mistake can mean death if you are not prepared.

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by hikin_jim » Thu Aug 25, 2011 12:55 pm

My condolences to family and friends. :(

HJ

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by Jim_b » Thu Aug 25, 2011 1:04 pm

Interesting that Barry Storm Jade Mine is off of Black Mountain Road. DesertUSA made a video on the road if you want to see what the road and area looks like. Sometimes its an easy road and other time it can be bad. No cell service in area.

http://www.desertusa.com/video_pages/bl ... -road.html

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by Paul » Thu Aug 25, 2011 3:02 pm

It's a pretty dramatic illustration of just how quickly and horribly things can go south if you get stranded. They'd only been in the park six hours.

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by hikin_jim » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:49 am

Thanks for the update, gruesome though it is.

HJ

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by Hgoblin » Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 am

This is an unfortunate tragedy. My condolences to their family and friends.

Unless I missed it, the article did not explicitly state if the couple were driving a passenger vehicle or another type; it just reported that the road is impassable to passenger vehicles. However, I've often seen European folks speeding down dirt roads in passenger vehicles, so it makes me wonder. Of course they're not the only ones as I was a young fool once in my life doing the same, but it really seems more prevalent with the European population.

Just out of curiosity, do their embassies need to get involved?

BTW, I greatly, GREATLY appreciate your videos, Jim. I would not even consider attempting this road without a 4WD, supplies, and good company.

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by hikin_jim » Sat Nov 05, 2011 10:14 am

I'm sure the embassy would get involved. US Authorities would probably contact the embassy for notification of next-of-kin.

Such a tragedy. I think they probably had no idea of what they were getting into. In my travels to Joshua Tree, my impression is that Europeans are fascinated by the desert. I don't think Europe has anything quite like Joshua Tree (or any other desert SW type area). Yet they don't quite seem to grasp just how dangerous the desert can be.

I suppose having grown up watching Westerns with cowboys on hands and knees desperate for water Americans have sort of a gut feel that deserts are innately dangerous places?

HJ

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by DESERTGOLD » Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:31 pm

Jim, This is an extremely tragic situation. Your video was excellent in providing advice about conditions of roads in the area. I am really impressed. My wife and I was at Barry Storm's Jade Mine in 1969, couple of years before he died. I chatted with him many times on the porch of the old Bluebird Mine NE of Apache Junction on the Apache Junction. Thank you for providing the excellent video on road conditions in the area. Tom Kollenborn

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Re: Two tourists dead in Joshua Tree

Post by Yoshiko » Mon Jan 02, 2012 8:14 am

This is a very sad story. I think most people underestimate just how dangerous the desert can be before venturing out.

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