33-Year-Old Californian Tourist Dies Hiking in Australia Outback Heat

A 33-year-old Californian tourist died after taking a wrong turn while hiking with little water in summer heat in the Australian Outback, police said on Thursday.

The man was reported missing on a hiking trail west of Alice Springs in arid central Australia on Wednesday afternoon and his body was found by a search party at the base of Mount Sonder an hour later, a police statement said.

Police have not identified the tourist or said where in California he was from. Police have not revealed a cause of death, but said it was not suspicious.

"Heat and exposure were contributing factors. The gentleman had a very limited water supply," Police Sergeant Michael Potts said.

The tragedy has prompted authorities to warn of the dangers of hiking in the northern Australian summer heat, particularly for tourists who have not acclimatized from the northern hemisphere winter. A coroner will investigate the tragedy and report on the cause of the man's death.

The deceased man and a 40-year-old companion set out on a 16-kilometer (10-mile) trek to the Mount Sonder summit and back on Wednesday morning, Police Superintendent Rob Burgoyne told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

The companion told police that the man ran on ahead during the descent. He took a wrong turn and his body was found three hours later, Burgoyne said.

The temperature at Alice Springs reached 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) on Wednesday. There is little shade or water in the semi-desert surrounds.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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