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Wednesday
Jul242013

The Wave Hiking Area Claims Third Victim in a Month

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KANE COUNTY, Utah) -- The Wave is a forbidding yet beautiful desert area of south Utah that has claimed its third hiking victim this month.

The latest hiker to die in the searingly hot wilderness was a 27-year-old woman who succumbed on Monday during what was planned as a day hike.

Elisabeth Ann Berval, 27, of Mesa, Ariz., died while hiking with her husband on the sandstone mountain that is popular with photographers and hikers, but where temperatures often reach 100 degrees and trails are unmarked. It was the couple's fifth wedding anniversary, ABC television affiliate KTVX reported.

Bervel and her husband were on their return trip when they got lost. Her husband went ahead to get help, but when he returned Berval was in cardiac arrest. Heat exhaustion is the expected cause, according to KTVX.

The Wave is a part of the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. It is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management, which only allows 20 people to hike through on any given day. Prospective hikers must obtain a permit several months in advance, according to the park's website, and watch an instructional video on hiking safety.

The park website bills The Wave as a "destination for a short, moderately difficult day hike," but Berval's death is the third death in the park this month, according to KTVX.

"People don't realize it's on an unmarked trail, across open desert that gets extremely, extremely hot," wilderness instructor Adam Provance told the station.

Ulrich and Patricia Wahli died while hiking along The Wave earlier this month on a day when temperatures exceeded 100 degrees, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Berval's family could not be reached for comment. The Bureau of Land Management did not respond to calls for comment.

 

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ABC News Radio